Hospice and Palliative Care in Taiwan

In Taiwan, more than 30,000 people die from cancer each year. And the numbers are increasing every year as a result that cancer continues to be the leading cause among the top ten causes of death in Taiwan. The introduction of current development on the hospice and palliative care in Taiwan is as follows:


Subjects:
The hospice and palliative care service is for the terminally ill patients. In Taiwan, it is mainly provided for the patients with cancer.



Goals:
Helping and taking care of patients with respect as well as alleviating their pain. Helping patients’ wishes come true and let patients die with peace and dignity. Also, helping the family members of patients cope with grief and bereavement in order to continue going on with their lives.



Course of Action & Types of Hospice Care:
The palliative care team provides symptom alleviation and the holistic care from physical, emotional and spiritual aspects to the terminal ill patients while walking through with them toward the end of their lives.

The types of hospice care currently available in Taiwan include in-patient hospice care (Hospice wards), hospice home care team (home visits by the nurses and other interdisciplinary staff on a regular basis) and hospitals consultation/combined care team. In August 2008, there are
  • 40 hospital-based in-patient palliative care.
  • 52 hospice home care teams.
  • 38 hospitals consultation/shared care team.



Impact on Policy:
In 1995, the Department of Health(DOH)organized a taskforce to develop hospice palliative care.

  • In 1996, the DOH declared that providing palliative care, including DNR, in terminal care is appropriate and legally justified.
  • In 1996, the National Health Insurance(NHI)started to include the Hospice Home Care in the funding program.
  • In 2000, NHI subsidize hospice in-patient care, with per capita and per diem program.
  • In May 2003, “Cancer Control Act” was promulgated. In this law, “Availability of hospice service for terminal cancer patients” is listed as one of the 5 tasks of cancer control.
  • In 2004, the DOH started a pilot study in providing Hospice combined care.
  • 2005, the DOH published the “National Cancer Control Project 2005-2009”. In the project, the provision of quality hospice palliative care is included as a part of the integrated cancer control and care. The aim is to increase the palliative care coverage rate to 50% of cancer death. Since this year, Hospice combined care is subsidized.



Reference:
Sheau-Feng Hwang, Hospice Palliative Care in Taiwan 2007- adding to the complete global mapping, 2007 APHC
Taiwan Hospice Organization, http://www.tho.org.tw/xms/