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Draft law on palliative care to be discussed at large parliamentary hearings in State Duma

The definition of "palliative care" is expanding and becoming complex

MOSCOW, February 11. / TASS /. Big parliamentary hearings on the topic "Legislative support of palliative care in Russia" will be held on Monday at the State Duma under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the lower house Vyacheslav Volodin.

"Deputies, together with experts, representatives of civil society institutions and regions will discuss proposals for amendments to the draft law on palliative care," the press service of the lower house of parliament said. One of the key issues will be the implementation of the proposed norms. Representatives of over 60 regions, palliative care specialists, hospice staff, and volunteers will take part in the discussion. "Following the results of the hearings, the relevant committees will summarize and prepare proposals for making possible amendments to the draft law in the second reading," the State Duma’s press service said.

Considering the significance of the bill, Volodin had previously proposed to consider the preparation of government by-laws necessary for its implementation, stressing that their adoption was "unacceptable to delay". It would be the right thing to "conduct their preparation simultaneously with the consideration of the law," the speaker emphasized.

About the bill

The government bill adopted on first reading expands the concept of "palliative care" and establishes the patient is right to pain relief, including heavy medications. The definition of "palliative care" is expanding and becoming complex: in addition to direct medical intervention, it includes the provision of psychological assistance to the terminally ill and the provision of care.

All this should be aimed at improving the quality of life and getting rid of pain, alleviating other severe manifestations of the disease and maintaining the body’s functions. The Law on the Basics of Health Protection is complemented by the provision that the patient can count on pain relief, including narcotic and psychotropic drugs.

An important innovation concerns the possibility of providing palliative care at home and in a day hospital residency. It also establishes the right of terminally ill patients to receive medicine free of charge not just in inpatient facilities, as was the case previously, but also in day hospital residency, according to registration.

The Ministry of Health will establish the procedure of palliative care provision; hospitals will be able to interact with social service organizations, public associations and non-profit organizations.