WHO: European national health systems overlook elderly

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Many elderly Europeans suffer pain and discomfort unnecessarily because of healthcare systems that ignore their special needs, the World Health Organization said in a report Thursday.

Although some countries are known for well-developed long-term care, some countries with otherwise modern health systems do not prioritize care for those in the last stages of their lives, said Dr. Agis Tsouros of the WHO's Copenhagen-based Europe office. European and American studies show that although 75% of people wish to die at home, only about 32% actually do, according to WHO.

The report was written to make policy-makers and healthcare professionals aware of the need for better care for Europeans in the last stages of their lives, whether they are suffering from terminal illnesses or simply growing old, Tsouros said.

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