As life expectancy increases, people become more concerned with how they’ll be taken care of in their last years. For many people those last few years are often defined by multiple diseases that require care, which can often be both complex and expensive. Wealthier countries, to no surprise, tend to provide better care for the sick and elderly than poorer countries.
The Economist Intelligence Unit measures 20 aspects of end-of-life care to determine the quality-of-death index in 80 different countries. According to Quartz, a few attributes the EIU measures are the quality of palliative care, affordability, health care, and community engagement.
The UK was ranked the highest among the 80 countries in the quality-of-death index with a score of 93.9 out of 100. The U.S. ranked 9th with a score of 80.8.
Among middle-income countries, Costa Rica had the best end-of-life care with a score of 57.3. The EIU partially attributed this to the country’s extensive volunteer networks that help support public services.
Mongolia has the highest quality-of-death index among the middle-income countries. Its score of 57.7 ranks it higher than every middle-income country in the EIU rankings. This is largely because of Dr. Odontuya Davaasuren, a pediatrician who brought back ideas that she had learned in Sweden at an end-of-life care conference.
Mongolia had no palliative care programs, or even the terminology to refer to palliative care, until Dr. Davaasuren introduced the Mongolian Palliative Care Society in 2000. There are now 10 palliative care facilities in Mongolia’s capital and many provincial hospitals now have the resources to provide end-of-life care as well.
Despite impressive advancements in quality-of-death indices, we still have a long way to go. According to the EIU, not even 10% of people who require end-of-life care actually access it.