Moving forward with the third ‘world map’ of palliative care development

Published on: Author: David Clark Leave a comment

Members of the University of Glasgow End of Life Studies Group are collaborating with the ATLANTES Global Observatory of Palliative Care, University of Navarra and the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance, to conduct a third study of the state of palliative care development around the world. Based on data from 2017, the new ‘world map’ of palliative care will update earlier versions from 2006 and 2011, showing progression over time. In this short video I explain how the new study has included significant improvements in the research methodology. We have reported these in detail in a new publication which has now been reviewed and published on open access as:

Baur N, Centeno C, Garralda E, Connor S, Clark D. Recalibrating the ‘world map’ of palliative care development [version 1; peer review: 2 approved]. Wellcome Open Res 2019, 4:77 (https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopen…)

Since 2006, I have been engaged in two projects to categorize palliative care development, country by country, throughout the world, and then to depict this development in a series of maps [i] [ii]

For the third iteration of the world map of palliative care development, with funding from a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award, we have been able to significantly improve the under-lying methodology of this work.

In a major departure from the earlier studies, the third world map is based primarily on an online survey of in-country experts, in which the questionnaire they were asked to complete was constructed to measure levels of development against 10 indicators drawn from the emerging literature.  Where these data could not be obtained or were incomplete, they were enhanced by systematic searches of the published and grey literature for the countries in question. In addition, data on levels of opioid consumption and population were taken for all countries from reliable global sources.

We are now working in earnest on the analysis of the mass of data we have collected. The results are intriguing and cast new light on the development of palliative care in 198 countries. Watch this space for more details and the (hoped for) announcement of their publication. Meanwhile, my thanks go to everyone who is assisting with this work, and in particular the in-country experts who made the work possible, by completing the study questionnaire.


[i] Wright, M Wood, J Lynch, T Clark, D Mapping levels of palliative care development:  a global view. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2008, 35(5): 469-85.[

[ii] Lynch, T., Connor, S., and Clark, D. Mapping levels of palliative care development: a global update. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2013, 45(6): 1094-1106. . (doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2012.05.011).

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