Palliative care is provided in outpatient departments, hospital-based departments of palliative care, (mobile) hospices and in the home setting by nursing agencies. The concept of palliative care was adopted in 2006. Palliative care is covered by SHI. The amount reimbursed by health insurance is often insufficient and additional financing from sponsors or donations is necessary. Care for terminally ill patients in hospices is neither defined by diagnosis nor by law. A terminally ill patient is eligible for palliative care if his or her state of health is deteriorating and requires constant monitoring. The eligibility criteria set by health insurance companies are the following: chronic, untreatable and progressive disease with time-limited survival.
In 2008, hospice care was provided in 9 facilities with 120 beds in hospices, 269 beds in hospital-based departments of palliative care and 4 mobile hospices (NCHI, 2009b). This is equal to 4.5 beds per 100 000 population, less than half the number recommended by the WHO (10 beds per 100 000 population). Mobile hospices provide specific, complex home care in cases of untreatable, progressive diseases, which are not responding to causal treatment. It may be important to note that there are several facilities that are called hospices, which do not meet the conditions of hospice care.