Objective: To estimate the human resources and services needed to meet the demand of the Brazilian population who would benefit from palliative care, based on the population growth projection for 2040.
Methods: Population and mortality estimates and projections were obtained from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Service needs were estimated based on literature data.
Results: The expected increase in the Brazilian population for 2000-2040 is 31.5%. The minimum estimate of patients with palliative care needs was 662,065 in 2000 and 1,166,279 in 2040. The staff required for each hundred thousand inhabitants would increase from 1,734 to 2,282, the number of doctors needed would increase from 4,470 to 6,274, and the number of nurses from 8,586 to 11,294, for the same period.
Conclusion: The definition of a national strategy predicting the increasing palliative care needs of the population is necessary. The expansion of the support network for chronic and non-transmissible diseases is necessary, but the training of existing human resources at all levels of attention to perform palliative actions can be a feasible alternative to minimize the suffering of the population.