The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has welcomed the Department of Health’s latest commitment to developing much-needed hospice units in the Midlands and North East as outlined in the Department’s recent Statement of Strategy 2016 – 2019.
Angela Edghill, Advocacy and Public Engagement Manager at the IHF said: “Not having a full service means patients with complex palliative symptoms who cannot be managed in homecare have to be transferred to an acute hospital, often through a busy Emergency Department. This means many more people die in acute hospitals.
“Double the percentage of people with cancer who die in the Midlands area die in an acute hospital; compared to other areas where there is a full Level III service.”
The Health Department’s Statement of Strategy commits to encouraging the development of a hospice in the Midlands which incorporates Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath and the North- East which incorporates Louth, Cavan, Monaghan and Meath
Ms Edghill said: “The IHF believes that everyone is entitled to prompt access to good quality palliative and end-of-life care when they need it, regardless of where they live. People in the Midlands and North East counties are being denied the full range of services available in other areas. The Department of Health has committed to funding the operation of new hospices that are built through local community funding. This affords another opportunity to support and strengthen the existing palliative care services while developing a full multi-disciplinary homecare and inpatient palliative care service.
Ms Edghill continued: “The IHF’s vision is that no-one should face death or bereavement without the care and support they need. We are heartened that the Department’s goals encompass this vision and we will continue to pursue this agenda for the best care at end of life for all. We all need to join in common purpose and work together for advancements in the Midlands and other areas to ease the pain and distress for patients and their loved ones.”
The Department’s strategy also commits to ‘work with non governmental organisations to improve information and awareness of end of life services, particularly those which provide people with palliative care in the location they choose.’
“More than 74% of people in Ireland say that they want to be cared for at home at end of life. Only 24% of people get to fulfil that wish. Our programmes are directed at supporting improvements which could enable more people to die well in the location of their choice,” concluded Ms Edghill.