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Pseudo train ticket handout in Brussels will raise awareness of end-of-life care

Commuters in a Brussels station will be handed fake railway passes from Friday as part of a campaign aiming to raise awareness over access to palliative care in Belgium.

The distribution of the train tickets, which mimick the design of a 10-journey rail pass sold by the SNCB/NMBS railway, will be carried out in Gare Centrale on 11 and 12 October.

The tickets, named “palliapasses” aim to address the fact that palliative care is still little known and taboo in Belgium, the organisation behind the distribution said.

Palliative care aims to provide relief and care to people suffering from chronical or terminal illnesses at any stage of their disease and can allow some patients to live their final days at home.

Testimonies of diverging end-of-life situations will be printed onto the tickets, with one fictional scenario depicting the situation of a person who did not have palliative care and one who did, with the latter living their last days at home and the former at the hospital.

The goal is to “break the silence around an issue that, unfortunately, remains taboo in our society,” the Brussels Federation for Palliative and Continuing Care said in a statement. “Our wish is to open up the dialogue about end-of-life choices.”

Figures cited in the statement noted that while a majority of people (80%) “wish to live their final days surrounding by their relatives in a familiar environment, only 15% of them receive (…) palliative care at home.”

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