The Making of a Myth: Unreliable Data on Access to Palliative Care in Canada
Health Law Review, Forthcoming
4 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2014 Last revised: 8 Oct 2015
Date Written: June 30, 2014
Assisted death is now the subject of conversation in the media, in public meetings, and around kitchen tables across the country. A frequent part of many conversations about assisted death law reform is access to quality palliative care in Canada. Throughout the literature and other forms of media, the claim is made that only 16-30% of Canadians have access to palliative care (or, its derivative, 70% are without access). The “16-30%” claim has been widely accepted as a fact. But is it, in fact, true? We are driven to the conclusion that the oft-repeated claim that only 16-30% of Canadians have access to palliative care should be retired. It is based on a misrepresentation of outdated data and it ignores the provision of palliative care outside of the acute care hospital setting.
Keywords: Canada, palliative care, assisted dying, empirical data
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