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Palliative care not just for end of life, but for quality of life

Author: Mary Ellen Breen
27 October 2015

Palliative care approach encouraged in both community and healthcare settings as part of Palliative Care Week 2015.

A public information campaign to highlight the benefits of a palliative care approach, both in community and healthcare settings, has been launched across the country as part of Palliative Care Week 2015.

The campaign is being coordinated by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) and takes place from October 25-31. It is supported by the Department of Health, HSE and providers of hospice and palliative care across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

The campaign follows a recent AIIHPC survey which found that 68% of people with an incurable illness wanted to plan for the future of their care. It also found that people wanted more timely and appropriate information and better emotional and psychological care.

The key message for Palliative Care Week is that a palliative approach to care can be provided in many different care settings – at home, in a nursing home, in a hospital, or in a hospice – depending on each person’s needs, preferences and decisions.

Institute Director Paddie Blaney urged people’s understanding to move away from a perception that palliative care is only about a person’s final weeks and days in a hospital or hospice.

“A palliative care approach cares for all elements of a person with a serious or non-curable illness – emotional, physical and spiritual. Taking this approach early on can mean being able to experience the best possible quality of life for longer.”  

“It may mean being able to spend most of the time at home and accessing hospice care when symptoms become too difficult to manage, or going in and out of hospital for specialist care when needed, or receiving quality of life care in a nursing home.”

“We encourage patients, families and carers to talk with their health and social care professionals about having a palliative care approach included as part of planning their care.”

The awareness drive is being widely supported by health and social care services in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The campaign is also being supported by Voices4Care member and patient advocate Eithne Frost who said: “For each person, living with serious illness, taking a palliative care approach ensures living with the best possible quality of life at each stage of an illness.”

To support the need for more information for the public the Institute has launched a major new information website for people with incurable conditions, their families, carers and communities called the Palliative Hub - Adult which can be viewed at www.thepalliativehub.com   

More information ob events taking place as part of Palliative Care Week can be found at www.palliativecareweek.com


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