New drive to highlight palliative care option

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A public information campaign to highlight the benefits of a palliative care approach, both in community and healthcare settings, has been launched in Northern Ireland.

The call has been made by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) ahead of Palliative Care Week, which takes place from October 25-31.

Institute Director Paddie Blaney urged people’s understanding to move away from a perception that palliative care is only about a person’s final weeks and days in a hospital or hospice.

“A palliative care approach cares for all elements of a person with a serious or non-curable illness – emotional, physical and spiritual. Taking this approach early on can mean being able to experience the best possible quality of life for longer.

“It may mean being able to spend most of the time at home and accessing hospice care when symptoms become too difficult to manage, or going in and out of hospital for specialist care when needed, or receiving quality of life care in a nursing home.

“We encourage patients, families and carers to talk with their health and social care professionals about having a palliative care approach included as part of planning their care.”

The awareness drive is being widely supported by health and social care services in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The campaign is also being supported by Voices4Care member and patient advocate Lisburn based Arthur Newell who said: “For each person, living with serious illness, taking a palliative care approach ensures living with the best possible quality of life at each stage of an illness.”

The campaign is being supported by the Public Health Agency, the five Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Trusts and providers of hospice and palliative care across, as well as health agencies and providers in the Republic of Ireland.

Many information events will take place across both jurisdictions during Palliative Care Week. More information is at www.palliativecareweek.com