Irish Hospice Foundation’s priority asks for General Election 2016
Between 2016 and 2021 over 145,000 people will die and over 1.4 million people will be bereaved. Dying, death and bereavement affect us all and are everyone’s business. Despite Ireland being ranked 4th in the world for end of life care, significant geographic and other disparities remain in access to palliative care and support for those facing dying, death or bereavement
The Irish Hospice Foundation believes that everyone deserves the best care at end of life. End of life care and end of life issues include, but are wider than, health. A whole population approach is required.
“We believe that everyone facing dying, death or bereavement deserves the best care and support. We advocate for equitable access to comprehensive care at end of life, including palliative care, whether this is needed at home, hospital, hospice or in the community.
Strategic leadership for all:
National leadership will drive a whole population approach to dying, death and bereavement.
- Develop a more strategic approach to end of life issues across all areas of Government and society and take a lead role to drive change across all sectors.
- Support, enable and encourage people of all ages to discuss and plan for end of life needs – to Think Ahead – including the speedy commencement of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and its provisions on Advance Healthcare Directives.
Ensure equity in access to specialist palliative care services
- Support the implementation of the new National Framework for Palliative Care Services 2016-2018.
- Address critical geographic inequities in specialist palliative care infrastructure –particularly in the Midlands and North East where there is no specialist in-patient unit. Seek to ensure these CHO areas produce firm action plans for developments.
- Evidence: The absence of inpatient hospice units means more patients die in hospital – this adds to the problems in the acute sector.
- Protect and develop the budget for specialist palliative care – at home, in hospices, in long-stay residential settings and in acute hospitals for adults and children.
- Evidence: This budget is only €70 million against a wider health spend of over €13 billion, representing less than 1% (0.58%) of total health budget. Yet this delivers tremendous health and quality of life gains to people at their most vulnerable time.
- Plan sustainable funding to meet the growing demand for the Nurses for Night Care/Night Nursing service currently provided by The Irish Hospice Foundation and the Irish Cancer Society. A commitment of €1.0m p.a. is required to begin transfer of this service across to the HSE and to ensure sustainability of this vital service.
- Evidence: One night of nursing for night care costs approximately €300. Compare this to the cost of an acute bed at €827 per night.
- Extension of Children’s Palliative Care services – to include the appointment of a second consultant paediatrician with a special interest in palliative care for Temple Street Hospital and additional outreach nurses to cover areas currently not sufficiently served by the service.
- Evidence: This service is reaching more than 370 families per annum – allowing them to remain at home with their critically ill children as far as possible.
- Develop national standards on bereavement care for children and adults in partnership with the IHF and other bodies.
- Evidence: National standards will address the ad hoc approach to bereavement care currently experienced in Ireland.
Embed good end-of-life care in all settings
- Continued development of good end of life practice in all acute hospitals and hospital groups through support of the palliative care programme and Hospice Friendly Hospitals
- Evidence: This programme (in existence for 9 years) requires ongoing support and development to ensure that the 43% of people who die in hospital, do so with dignity and with access to the best palliative and end of life care.
- Seek to examine, in partnership with the Irish Hospice Foundation, the needs of Irish people who wish to die at home. There is much activity and conversation on this area but little joined up action. More can be done in primary care, community, homecare support schemes and in acute service to address deficits in home care delivery and in tandem address challenges in the acute hospital sector.
For further information contact:
Angela Edghill, Advocacy Coordinator,
Telephone: 01 6793188 Mobile: 086 2310381
 Estimate based on CSO figures for numbers of deaths in each year in Ireland
 Estimate based on 10 people directly affected by each death