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Canada Is The World's 11th Best Place To Die, Says Economist Intelligence Unit

10/09/2015 07:07 EDT | Updated 10/09/2015 07:07 EDT

It may not sit in the top 10 any longer, but Canada is still one of the world's greatest places to die.

That's according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) second ever Quality of Death Index, which ranks countries according to the state of palliative care.

Here are the world's 15 best places to die, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit:

The World's Best Places To Die, According to the Economist Intelligence Unit

Palliative care is aimed at improving the lives of patients who have terminal or serious illnesses, says the National Cancer Institute.

The EIU scored 80 countries using data and interviews with over 120 experts in the field.

It came up with scores using five separate categories, which were weighted as follows: quality of care (30 per cent); palliative and health care environment (20 per cent); human resources (20 per cent); affordability of care (20 per cent); and community engagement (10 per cent).

The U.K. ranked first of all countries with a score of 93.9, followed by Australia (91.6), New Zealand (87.6), Ireland (85.8) and Belgium (84.5).

Canada ranked 11th overall in the latest index with a score of 77.8, after tying for ninth with the United States when the EIU did its first Quality of Death index in 2010.

But the EIU pointed out that scores are being weighted differently now, so "direct comparison of scores between years is not possible."

The data for the study was also gathered before the February ruling from Canada's Supreme Court that allows for assisted suicide — though laws on the matter have not yet been set in place.

While it came in 11th overall, Canada also came sixth out of all countries in quality of care, which was weighted the highest of any category when assigning scores.

The EIU said Canadian palliative care patients "enjoy a high quality of service provision, characterized by ease of access, transparency and overall affordability due to support from the national health care system." Canadian hospitals, the study noted, offer palliative care for free, and it is mostly readily available, save for some treatments that can only be accessed on a limited basis.

Canada's ranking comes a month after it ranked fifth in the 2015 Global AgeWatch Index, which looked at seniors' quality of life around the world.

And while both paint a rosy picture for how palliative care and elderly patients are treated, doctors remain concerned about the cost of care for elderly patients.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has called on all federal parties to come up with a national seniors strategy and make more tax benefits available to people who care for older relatives.

Association members have said that over 75 per cent of care for older Canadians comes from unpaid caregivers, usually members of their own family.

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