National Planning and Policy
The Programme for Government ‘Our Shared Future’ (2020) states that “the care and dignity of a dying person and their family must be our focus” in developing end-of-life supports and services. We remain committed and ready to work in partnership with Government and other state bodies to encourage, support and enable innovation and excellence in palliative, end-of-life and bereavement care across Ireland.
Our work is primarily focused on advocating for the needs identified and informing policy development:
National Adult Palliative Care Policy
We welcome the commitment in the 2020 Programme for Government to publish a new Palliative Care Policy for Adults to update the existing policy from 2001. We have been supportive of the progress that has been made in this regard throughout 2021 and 2022.
Throughout 2021 the Department of Health conducted a public consultation and has commissioned three preparatory reports in preparation for the new policy. Read the preparatory reports.
We were happy to support this public consultation and you can read our submission here.
In mid 2022, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly established a steering group to develop the new palliative care policy for adults. Read more about the Steering Group.
Irish Hospice Foundation is proud to be represented on this steering group. The group is chaired by Professor Karen Ryan, consultant in palliative care medicine at the Mater Hospital and St. Francis Hospice and Clinical Professor at University College Dublin and is comprised of 16 members consisting of health professionals, patient representatives, representatives of voluntary organisations, senior HSE management and senior departmental officials. The new policy is expected to be published in early 2023.
Collaborations and Working in Partnerships
We work in partnership and collaborate with other organisations across a range of issues related to dying, death and bereavement to make sure that national and local decision makers take action to improve end of life and bereavement care. We want to ensure that our partners and collaborators are informed and cognisant of the relevant issues and concerns in these areas.
Some of our key partnerships include:
Palliative Care Week
Each year in September we participate in Palliative Care Week which is facilitated by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC). 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.
In the past we have run awareness campaigns over social media and hosted in person and online events for healthcare professionals to raise awareness about palliative care and the various issues that are associated.
The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs
The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs (AASNGO, The Alliance) is a collective of seven significant NGOs working in the age sector, including Irish Hospice Foundation. The other member organisations are: Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity, ALONE, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Irish Hospice Foundation, The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament and Third Age.
The Alliance aims to effect positive change for older people by uniting our learning from working with the diversity of older people and the issues that they face.
In February 2024, the Alliance launched the report ‘Taking stock: Is Government keeping its commitments to older people?’ a hard-hitting review which highlights a significant failure by Government to deliver many of Ireland’s policy commitments for ageing and older people. The review calls on all political parties to include a commitment in their manifestos, ahead of the next general election, to establish an Independent Commissioner for Ageing and Older People and to relaunch the National Positive Ageing Strategy (2013) with a strong implementation and monitoring plan and a ring-fenced budget.
In January 2023, The Alliance launched its 2023 Report, ‘Telling It Like It Is; Combatting Ageism’. The report calls out ageism in Ireland and presents why we need to take meaningful action to counteract it.
The most pressing of these actions is the appointment of an Independent Commissioner for Ageing and Older People. The Alliance believes that a Commissioner would ensure that issues related to ageing are kept to the fore of policy and decision-making and that there is enhanced investment and accountability in programmes and services to combat ageism.
The need for an Independent Commissioner for Ageing and Older People is also highlighted in the Alliance’s Pre-Budget Submission 2024.
In 2021, The Alliance released its first publication, ‘Telling It Like It Is’, a frank and unfiltered account of older people’s experience in Ireland during COVID-19, as told to the staff and volunteers of the seven organisations. Read the 2021 report Telling It Like It Is.
Brain Awareness Week
Each year in March we participate in Brain Awareness Week which is led by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland. Brain Awareness Week is an awareness campaign that aims to promote greater awareness and understanding of the brain and brain conditions as well as the need for more investment in services, research and prevention.