Population's potential accessibility to specialized palliative care services: a comparative study in three European countries
Background: Palliative care is a priority for health systems worldwide, yet equity in access remains unknown. To shed light on this issue, this study compares populations' driving time to specialized palliative care services in three countries: Ireland, Spain, and Switzerland. Methods: Network analysis of the population's driving time to services according to geolocated palliative care services using Geographical Information System (GIS). Percentage of the population living within a 30-min driving time, between 30 and 60 minutes, and over 60 min were calculated. Results: The percentage of the population living less than thirty minutes away from the nearest palliative care provider varies among Ireland (84%), Spain (79%), and Switzerland (95%). Percentages of the population over an hour away from services were 1.87% in Spain, 0.58% in Ireland, and 0.51% in Switzerland. Conclusion: Inequities in access to specialized palliative care are noticeable amongst countries, with implications also at the sub-national level.