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Primary Palliative Care Steering Committee Newsletter

Primary Palliative Care Steering Committee Newsletter

December 2023

Providing updates on palliative care within community settings

Did you know that every day in Ireland, nearly 100 people die and over 1000 people are newly bereaved. Last year, 35, 477 deaths were registered in Ireland with 23% of people dying at home. GPs and Primary Care Teams in the community are essential to the delivery of palliative and end-of life care at home and in communities across Ireland.

Irish Hospice Foundation’s (IHF) Primary Palliative Care (PPC) programme is focused on supporting the provision of palliative and end-of-life care to people with advanced life-limiting conditions, of all types, within their communities. This is especially important as the aging and expanding population in Ireland is expected to contribute to a 27% increase in mortality over the next 10 years (IHF Recent Trends in Place of Death Report, 2019). Last year, 83% of deaths were of people aged 65+.

Dying Well at Home (DWAH)

The Dying Well at Home Focus Group report officially launched in September ahead of Palliative Care Week. The report received national media coverage, generating conversations about home based palliative and end of life care at individual and community based levels. Abstracts about the report have been submitted for several conferences and have been presented at North West Hospice’s “Explorations: The National Palliative Care Conference” and EAPC’s 3rd International Research Seminar, A Human Rights based approach for Palliative Care: Towards Solutions for Public Health Palliative Care, and was also mentioned at Marymount University Hospital & Hospice’s International Conference: “Reflections & Projections…”on Palliative Care and Care of the Older Person.

Palliative Care Week 2023

This year, Irish Hospice Foundation hosted a webinar entitled Palliative Care: Living for Today, Planning for Tomorrow during Palliative Care Week. Registration was open to all our colleagues working across all healthcare settings. Information about different levels of palliative care and ways that it can be delivered across Ireland were discussed while also exploring ways that Think Ahead and Advance Care Planning can support those living with life limiting illness to identify the types of care they want to receive. A poll given at the end of the webinar revealed that 100% of attendees felt they had a better understanding of Advance Care Planning and 96% felt their understanding of palliative care had improved.

Nurses for Night Care

Nurses for Night Care, as part of the Dying Well at Home programme, is a vital service providing essential care for people across Ireland who are in their last days of life and those who are caring for them. In 2022, there were 1289 referrals to the Nurses for Night Care service for non-malignant patients. That’s a 3% increase from 2021. In 2022, Irish Hospice Foundation delivered 2673 nights of care, with an average of 3 nights per person. Of the referrals, 60% were female and 40% were male. At the annual Nurses for Night Care event, IHF presented on the DWAH report, provided updates on the organisation’s work, and met with the nurses providing care.

GP Palliative Care Certificate Course

Run jointly by the ICGP, Irish Hospice Foundation and the HSE, the course supports and encourages GPs to take a holistic and structured approach to caring for patients with life-limiting conditions. This is currently the only such course available in Ireland supporting and enabling GPs to develop their palliative care skills and competencies at Level 2 of the Palliative Care Model of Care. In total, 154 GPs have completed the course since it’s beginning in 2021. General Practice Nurses have been invited to take part in the latest cycle of the course, of which 51 participants have signed up for including 40 GPs and 11 GPNs). 37 completed the previous course earlier this year.

Partner Updates

IHF continue to be members of Neurological Alliance of Ireland and support their work and campaigns to advocate for people living with neurological conditions across Ireland, their families, and those who care for them.

IHF, in partnership with Care Alliance Ireland, took part in promoting the invaluable role of carers during Carer’s Week from June 8th – 14th. This year’s theme was ‘Making Carer’s Visible’.

Read more about the 17th Annual National Carers Week

IHF have also been collaborative contributors with the HSE Patient Forum, The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation, COPD Ireland, and Family Carers Ireland throughout 2023 to ensure that palliative and end-of-life care is represented within these working relationships. IHF looks forward to continuing this work in 2024.

Coming in 2024!

Forum on End of Life: Dying and Grieving Well

IHF’s Forum on End of Life: Dying and Grieving Well will take place on Tuesday, February 27th at Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin 2. Policy and decision-makers, professionals, researchers, funders, and community workers are invited to attend.

European Grief Conference

IHF are pleased to be hosting the second European Grief Conference (EGC) in partnership with the Bereavement Network Europe (BNE), RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Danish National Center for Grief. The conference will be taking place on November 11th to 13th, 2024.

13th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care

The 13th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care will be held in Barcelona from May 16th-18th, 2024. Several different programmes within IHF have submitted abstracts to the scientific committee of the Congress to showcase the work taking place in death, dying, and bereavement within Ireland.

For more info or to join our mailing list please contact Nicole Forster


Think Ahead Planning Packs are available online at or by invoice for organisations. Hospitals with an End of Life Care Coordinator in place may received discounted rates. For more information, email Valerie Smith.

Caring for Someone at Home Nearing End of Life

Caring for someone at home who is nearing the end of life can be a challenging, emotional and tiring experience. Here we provide practical information about providing end-of-life care in your home, tips on staying in contact with your GP and other community-based healthcare professionals, advice for self-care and answers to some of the questions you might have about caring for someone at home who is nearing the end of life

The information in this booklet is written for people who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition and it is intended to provide information about palliative care as a holistic approach that aims to make you feel comfortable and supported throughout your illness.

Caru is a continuous learning programme developed by IHF, in partnership with All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care, and HSE. The programme aims to support and empower nursing homes and their staff in the delivery of palliative, end-of-life, and bereavement care, leading in turn to enhanced quality of life for residents. Visit for more info

Supporting employees who are bereaved is a key part of staff wellbeing. Grief in the Workplace provides support, training, resources and advice to employers and employees based on research and best practice.

IHF’s national freephone Bereavement Support Line supports those who have experienced loss – both the public and professionals. Run in partnership with the HSE.

Past Issues

Read past issues of the Primary Palliative Care Steering Committee Newsletter.