Palliative Care: “In This Together ”

14/09/2020

We are supporting the 7th annual Palliative Care Week (13-19 September 2020) facilitated by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care.

This year’s Palliative Care Week aims to raise awareness of the difference palliative care can make to people with life-limiting conditions, carers and families throughout the island of Ireland. For Palliative Care Week 2020, we feel that it is essential to acknowledge the ongoing COVID-19 context and promote what palliative care has to offer to patients, carers and families with focus on “Palliative Care – In this together”.

Palliative care ensures that a person with a serious and progressive life limiting condition, regardless of age or disease has the best possible quality of life which involves the management of pain and other symptoms and provides social, emotional and spiritual support.

Quality of life is sustained where all supports for a person with palliative care needs are mobilized, including the wider community alongside health and social care, which has been a feature of the community response to COVID-19.

The approach aims to involve the person and those close to them and supports planning for the future, placing the person at the centre of every decision. Palliative Care may be appropriate for a number of years, not just the weeks and days at the end of life.

John McGarvey, Assistant Director for Intermediate Care and Rehabilitation, Western Trust said: “This year’s theme ‘Palliative Care: In This Together’ reflects these extraordinary times, where the community response to Covid-19 has been remarkable, supporting wider members of the community but it has also demonstrated the range of supports mobilized by health and social care professionals, to help people with palliative care needs and their loved ones to live as well as possible.”

“People with palliative care needs are being supported by the whole community beyond formal health and social care services. A personalised network of support can involve a broad range of professionals from primary care (such as GP’s and District Nurses), family and friends and the wider community, supporting a person whether they are at home, in hospital, in a nursing home or hospice.”

“We want people to have a better understanding of palliative care, so if the need arises for themselves or someone close to them, they will feel able to discuss it with their loved ones and health professionals. We would encourage the members of our community to speak with their GP or any other healthcare professional if you think palliative care could help you or someone you love.”

Dr Conn Haughey, Macmillan Consultant in Palliative Medicine and Clinical Lead in Western Trust commented: “Palliative care improves the lives of those living with a life-limiting illness and those who matter to them. Palliative Care is not just for people with advanced cancer but also for people living with advanced heart or lung disease, kidney failure and other conditions such as motor neurone disease or dementia. It puts the individual at the centre of care and supports their physical, social, psychological and spiritual health needs.”

We’ve all seen this year how something like Covid19 has brought out the best in people, especially in our communities. We want Palliative Care Week 2020 to acknowledge the community spirit that helps those closest to us to get better informed about palliative care and its benefits.”

“We might need to remain socially distant for some time to come but we can still feel close to our family and friends by having conversations about things like palliative care and understanding each other’s future care wishes.”

To find out more information about Palliative Care visit: www.thepalliativehub.com