As Spain is a member of the European Union (EU) the health service will be (at least) as good as you are used to from your “home” country.
The Spanish public health system is called “Instituto Nacional de la Salud” (INSALUD), and covers almost the whole population.
For non-residents from EU on a temporary visit treatment is free provided you carry form E111 (issued by the health authorities in your home country prior to travel).
For residents from EU form E121 will secure free treatment. This form should be applied for before you leave your home country.
In addition to INSALUD there are a number of non-public “pay-as-you-go” hospitals with very high medical standards.
Many foreigners living in Spain have private (expensive) health insurance, and can choose among some very highly qualified private doctors and hospitals when the need arise.
If you need prescription medicine – or simply pills to cure a headace – the place to go to is the FARMACIA. You find farmacias by looking for the green or red cross dispayed by the shop.
Hospice care in Spain
The only purpose-built hospice we know opened its doors on June 8th 2003 is on Costa del Sol. See www.cudeca.org.
Some public hospitals have wings which are dedicated to meeting the needs of the terminally ill, notably in Mallorca & Cataluña. The Madrid Ministry of Health’s recommended solution is to outsource terminal care using hospital-based teams, typically consisting of 2 doctors, a nurse, an auxiliary carer, a social worker and a psychologist.
There are 95 such teams in Cataluña, more than 20 in Madrid – and just 2 or 3 in Alicante province.
Residencias de Ancianos – Homes for the Elderly are often reluctant to accept entrants known to have a terminal illness because they will spoil their statistics on average length of stay!
While a great deal of help may be obtained from the voluntary sector, involvement with the final stages of life requires training and commitment which may not always be available free-of-charge.
Because of this, one charitable organisation in the Valencian Community, of which Torrevieja is a part, contracts qualified professionals, from consultant level downwards if they deem it necessary, to respond to the needs of terminal patients and their families.
Subject to the availability of funds and suitably qualified staff this group, ASOCIACIÁ“N CARING TOGETHER, places no barriers in terms of age, type of illness, race, religion or nationality. It sets itself to be just as responsive to the emotional and spiritual needs of family members and friends as to those of the patient, knowing that there may be great distress for all concerned.
ASOCIACIÁ“N CARING TOGETHER co-operates with the public and private care sectors with the object of making each remaining day worth living for the patient. It is especially interested in assisting in cases where loss of family income due to the illness of a principal family member could result in break-up of the family unit.
To ask for the FREE HOME CARE NEEDS EVALUATION SERVICE offered by ASOCIACIÁ“N CARING TOGETHER (Costa Blanca only) for a patient who is not expected to recover, call the Director of Mosaic, the Association’s contracted Home Care Service, during normal working hours please, on 619 216 270.