Palliative care is patient and family-centred care that optimises quality of life by anticipating, preventing, and treating suffering. Open Society Foundation public health program (2011) notes that people facing life-threatening illnesses are deeply vulnerable: often in severe physical pain, worried about death, incapacitation, or the fate of their loved ones.
Legal issues can increase stress for patients and families and make coping harder, impacting on the quality of care. In the absence of a clear legal provision expressly recognising palliative care in Kenya, providers may face numerous legal and ethical dilemmas that affect the availability, accessibility, and delivery of palliative care services and commodities. In order to ensure positive outcomes from patients, their families, and providers, palliative care services should be prioritised by all and includes advocating for the integration of legal support into those services. Palliative care service providers should be able to identify the various needs of patients and their families including specific issues requiring legal advice and interventions. Access to legal services remains a big challenge in Kenya, with limited availability of specialised legal services for health-related legal issues. An increased awareness of the benefits of legal services in palliative care will drive demand for easily accessible and more affordable direct legal services to address legal issues for a more holistic approach to quality palliative care.