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About Palliative Care For All

Extending Palliative Care Beyond Cancer

Palliative care has not traditionally been associated with diseases other than cancer. The Irish Hospice Foundation’s Palliative Care for All Programme provides support, direction and guidance to those working with patients with life limiting diseases other than cancer.

The need to extend palliative care to diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), Heart Failure and Dementia is increasingly acknowledged. There has been an overall lack of direction when it comes to providing palliative care within existing disease management frameworks for people with these and other life limiting illnesses.

Palliative Care for All Report

Palliative Care for all report

The Palliative Care for All programme emerged from a joint study; Extending Access, completed by the IHF and the HSE in 2008.

With an initial emphasis on dementia, COPD and heart failure, the study examined palliative care needs of people with life-limiting illnesses other than cancer to identify how palliative care could be applied to these patient groups in Ireland.

Download the full report (2008) HERE

Summary Palliative Care for All – Key Messages Booklet 

Action research & other initiatives

The Palliative Care for All report highlighted that palliative care principles need to be embedded within ALL disease frameworks.  The following initiatives have resulted from this programme:


  • Exploratory work with patient advocacy and voluntary groups such as the  Alzheimer Society of Ireland  on ways to introduce palliative care principles for constituents
  • A paper by the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland and Irish Hospice Foundation on end-of-life care for CF patients – available here 
  • Our Nurses for Night Care service which is available for people with diseases other than cancer who wish to die at home. IHF provides funding to the Irish Cancer Society to extend its night nursing service to patients with other life-limiting conditions
  • Initiation of discussion on the palliative care needs of  vulnerable sections of society, such as those with learning difficulties, mental health issues and the homeless.
  • The report of a meeting held May 2017 building on work carried out to date about addressing palliative care for people with illnesses other than cancer is available here. Potential next steps are outlined in this report.


Updated 07/12/2017


Nurses for Night Care

“By the end we were exhausted. They came in and for the last six nights before she died we could take a full nights sleep and we knew that she was fine”             About the service The Irish Hospice Foundation funds the ‘nurses for night care service’ for people dying […] Read more >

Heart Failure

Role of palliative care in the management of heart failure Approximately 10,000 people in Ireland die from cardiovascular disease every year. Studies show the symptom burden of Heart Failure is similar to that experienced by cancer patients yet these symptoms are not routinely identified or fully treated. In 2008 as part of the Palliative Care […] Read more >

Advanced Respiratory Disease

  Role of palliative care in the management of advanced respiratory disease People with advanced respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis experience a range of symptoms causing discomfort and distress.  Symptoms include shortness of breath, pain, physical discomfort, fatigue, anxiety and spiritual distress. While medical therapies are […] Read more >

Advancing Neurological Illness

Our Current Work On Neurological Illness Along with the Neurological Alliance of Ireland IHF completed a project looking at the palliative care needs of people with advancing neurological conditions from the perspective of Neurological Alliance of Ireland member organisations. The report and key messages from this work is available by clicking on the first 2 pictures below. […] Read more >

Palliative care for other diseases and groups

Emerging areas Addressing the health and palliative care needs of other non malignant diseases and of vulnerable sections of society can be challenging. Patients with non malignant diseases like end stage kidney disease or other chronic conditions or people with mental health issues, learning difficulties and the homeless  are groups that particularly could benefit from […] Read more >

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