ROI - Eight in 10 People Want to Discuss Palliative Care if it could Help Them

9 Sep, 2018

Research carried out on behalf of the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) has shown that eight in ten people believe that if palliative care could help them they would like a health care professional to discuss it with them.

Today marks the start of Palliative Care Week (9 to 15 September 2018) and AIIHPC surveyed people across the Republic of Ireland about their understanding of palliative care.* 

Karen Charnley, AIIHPC Director, said: 

“Our survey shows that many people would like to begin a conversation about a topic often considered too difficult and too frightening to discuss, the reality of living with a life-limiting illness. Our theme for Palliative Care Week 2018 is ‘Palliative Care, Because Every Moment Matters’. Whether you are a member of the public or a health and social care professional, we encourage everyone to discuss how palliative care could help.”

The survey also shows that eight in ten people believe palliative care should be considered as early as possible when diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.

Palliative care focuses on helping a person, of any age, with any life-limiting illness, to achieve the best quality of life. It involves the management of pain and other symptoms and provides support for social, emotional and spiritual needs. 

Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring is hosting the launch of the Palliative Care Week campaign at an event in the Mansion House in Dublin tomorrow (Monday 10 September).  

Lord Mayor Nial Ring said: 

“Palliative Care Week, being launched here in the Mansion House, is an important opportunity to raise awareness of this wonderful service which involves caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs in the best way possible for those with life-limiting illnesses. Palliative care teams offer immense emotional support and advice during this difficult time and do all they can to improve a patient’s quality of life and help them and their family to cope, while ensuring that no one loses their privacy and dignity. ‘Palliative Care, Because Every Moment Matters’ is such an appropriate, positive and affirmative theme for the week, being launched here.”

Speaking ahead of the Palliative Care Week launch in Dublin, and a simultaneous launch in Belfast for this all-island campaign, Ms Charnley said: 

“Our survey shows that people are willing to talk about palliative care; about what matters to them, and to receive help to give them a better quality of life. Palliative care is for people of all ages with a life-limiting condition such as motor neurone disease, MS, dementia, advanced kidney disease or advanced lung disease, as well as advanced cancer and heart disease.”

The Palliative Care Week campaign coincides with the launch of personal video stories of people who have benefitted from palliative care. Donal Crowley from Cork, who is living with Stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer, is among those who have spoken about the benefits of palliative care.

Mr Crowley said: 

“My prognosis at the beginning was very good but that changed pretty quickly to a negative situation, and that’s where the palliative care people were involved. I have had nothing but good experiences since being involved with palliative care. It will give you a better quality of life, but I think it will also extend your life in a better way.”

Sheilagh Reaper Reynolds, HSE National Lead for Palliative Care, expressed her sincere thanks to each individual who shared their personal story in the videos associated with Palliative Care Week. 

Ms Reaper-Reynolds said: 

“People who are being supported by palliative care will often say that it has helped not just in easing the burden of their illness but also in easing their fears and anxieties. Families say that they no longer feel alone but instead feel genuinely supported.  The HSE is pleased to be associated with Palliative Care Week because it encourages health care professionals, patients and families to begin a conversation about the lasting positive impact palliative care can have.”

Endorsing the Palliative Care Week campaign, Minister for Older People and Mental Health Jim Daly said: 

“Palliative care respects the dignity and individuality of patients. It can help people to maintain a good quality of life for many years, before comforting them and their families in the final days and hours. Ireland can be proud of its position as a leading nation in the development of palliative care. We are living longer, healthier lives, but our ageing population is coupled with increasing diagnoses of cancer, dementia and neurodegenerative disease, placing increased demands on our palliative care services. The Department of Health and the HSE are committed to ensuring that the national palliative care system remains fit for purpose, and offers targeted care to patients who avail of these services.”

ENDS

For further information contact Aileen Gaskin 087 7724 717

Notes to Editor’s

*A survey of 1000 people across the Republic of Ireland was carried out in June 2018