This Saturday (October 8th) is World Hospice & Palliative Care day, an international  day of recognition, promotion and support for hospice and palliative care.

This year the theme is ‘Many diseases, many lives, many voices – palliative care for non-communicable conditions” and the aim is to highlight the multitude of non-infectious diseases like chronic cardiovascular and respiratory conditions cared for in hospice and palliative settings.

Last month, the World Health Organisation published its ‘Global status report on non communicable disease 2010′  (Access report and country statistics HERE) which highlighted the growing health burden of rising rates of cancer, chronic respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease. UN leaders held a meeting on September 19th to address control and prevention of non-communicable diseases and highlighted the need for appropriate palliative care for all non communicable diseases (view Transcript of proceedings HERE)

Minister James Reilly speaking to the general assembly highlighted the need to care for patients ‘at lowest and most local level’ and organisers of World Hospice & Palliative Care day have called on citizens to hold leaders accountable for the palliative care needs of patients with non communicable diseases in a recent statement. 

The Irish Hospice Foundation’s ‘Palliative Care for All‘ initiative, developed out of the recommendations of the ‘palliative care for all‘ report aims to develop palliative care supports and interventions for patients with diseases other than cancer. Three action research projects focusing on patients with dementia, heart failure and advanced respiratory disease have been  in progress since last year. These projects are investigating and developing palliative care pathways for Irish patients with these chronic life limiting illnesses.

The Irish Hospice Foundation, in its statement ahead of of World Hospice & Palliative Care Day have emphasized the 17% increase in usage of their night nursing service to non-cancer patients. It also highlights the role that GPs play for terminal patients with 90% of care in the last year of life being delivered by primary care teams. The Irish Hospice Foundation’s new Primary care/Palliative care initiative aims to develop supports for patients with non malignant terminal illnesses in a primary care setting.

Details of events for World Hospice & Palliative Care day internationally are available on their home page and you can also share your stories and browse others’ insights on palliative care around the globe.

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