Irish Hospice Foundation’s new report highlights deficits in access to Palliative care

Access to palliative care services and place of death in Ireland

The Irish Hospice Foundation this week launched the second report in its perspectives series ‘Access to Specialist Palliative Care Services and Place of Death in Ireland; What the Data tells us‘. The report, completed by Eugene Murray based on his research with additional analysis by Dr. Kathy McLoughlin and Sharon Foley, indicated a number of inequalities in access to palliative services in Ireland. Some core findings of the research were;

  • That hospice deficits impact where people die – areas with limited access to a hospice have more cancer deaths in acute hospital
  • An estimated 2,500 patients each year are denied access to hospice inpatient care because of lack of services in their area 

The findings emerged from an examination of data from four sources over two years. Data was sourced from the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) Minimum Data Set for Palliative Care and HSE national and regional population statistics from 2011 along with the National Cancer Registry and the Hospital Inpatient Enquiry from 2010.  This research took an ecological approach bringing together broad population data to explore trends and illustrate areas for further research.

The Irish Hospice Foundation has now called on the government to prioritize the development of a broad end of life strategy.

The full report can be read HERE  

Irish Hospice Foundation development grants call for applications

hospital corridor The Irish Hospice Foundation’s annual call for development grants is now open for 2013.

‘Grant scheme A’ aims to support innovative service developments in palliative and hospice care. Applicants projects should enhance palliative services by  improving access, developing staff or service capacity or enhance patient involvement and choice in care.

Further details on this grant scheme and on application eligibility criteria are available HERE

Irish Hospice Foundation – Msc Bereavement Studies applications now open

Are you are a health, social work or mental health practitioner whose work brings you in contact with bereavement and loss? If so, the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Msc in Bereavement  Studies may be of interest to you. This part-time programme accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) has been developed to equip participants with an understanding of bereavement and loss from a theoretical and practice based perspective.  Year one comprises six core modules, completion of which will result in a Postgraduate Diploma in Bereavement Studies. Students completing a further three modules in year two,  including advanced research methods and a practical bereavement support development project will be eligible for the MSc.

Applications (which must be made online) for the September intake are currently open via the RCSI website HERE 

The deadline for completed applications is Friday May 4th.  If you are interested in applying for this course additional details and the course prospectus are available on the Irish Hospice Foundation website HERE

Palliative Medicine Information service

The regulation and administration of medicines for patients under palliative care can be a complex and challenging  task even for experienced healthcare practitioners.

To provide support for such practitioners the Palliative Meds Info service was launched in September 2010. Based in the pharmacy department of Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross, the service provides phone and email support on all aspects of medication for patients under palliative care from dosage and delivery methods to side effects and reactions.

The service, funding for which was provided by a development grant from the Irish Hospice Foundation has been expanding since its launch and has now developed a dedicated webpage. The Palliative Meds Info webpage which includes medication guidelines, patient information leaflets and newsletters can be accessed HERE   

New list of essential practices in Palliative care developed

The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care has just released its newly developed list of essential practices in palliative care.

The list was developed following a three year process consisting of three Delphi surveys and input from 410 individuals including 49 pain and palliative care organisations. Irish input to the Delphi rounds was provided by Professor Philip J Larkin of UCD School of Nursing & Midwifery and Dr Karen Ryan, HSE Clinical lead for palliative care.

The finalised list comprises 23 practices covering different interventions within areas of care including; Physical care; Psychological,emotional & spiritual care; care planning, coordination and communications. The list of essential practices aims to ease definition of appropriate palliative care and improve the overall understanding, quality and delivery of palliative care internationally.

The detailed project document care be accessed HERE and the essential practices list is accessible HERE

World Hospice & Palliative care day 2011 – October 8th

  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.

Public Information Day – The who, what, where, how & why of palliative care service

Are you interested in finding out more about Palliative Care services ?

As part of the Cuisle Beatha Galway University Hospital Palliative care conference ‘Pain pathways in cancer pain & chronic pain; similar pathways separate pathologies‘ an information day for the general public will be held on October 15th.

Speakers on the day include;

  • Dr Dympna Waldron, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Galway University Hospitals (GUH) – Roscommon County Hospital (RCH) – Roscommon Home Care Team
  • Dr Tony O Brien; palliative care consultant, Marymount Cork who will provide an introduction to and overview of palliative care.
  • Dr Ita Harnett;  palliative medicine consultant Galway Hospice & Mayo general hospital. Dr Harnett will provide details of palliative care services available in the West.
  • Mervyn Taylor;  Manager of the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme and the Forum on end of life will discuss feedback from the end of life forum.

The day will conclude with a public forum featuring a panel of experts. The forum offers the opportunity to raise questions and engage with issues relating to all aspects of palliative care service and delivery.Members of the public are invited to email questions to the expert panel on

The day should facilitate both healthcare professionals and members of the public gaining insight into palliative care practice and services.

Additional details including registration and contact details are available on the Cuisle Beatha website.

Irish Hospice Foundation on World Hospice & Palliative Care day


October 9th 2010

The Irish Hospice Foundation marked World Hospice & Palliative Care day by highlighting the need for equality in the provision of hospice & palliative care.


In a statement, Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Eugene Murray addressed the need for hospice & palliative care to be available to all who need it, regardless of their location or illness. The Irish Hospice Foundation’s palliative care for all programme has made positive steps in promoting palliative care for people with non malignant life limiting illnesses.

Recent developments like the Programme for children’s palliative care, the Quality standards for End-of-Life care in Hospitals and the National Audit of End-of-life care in hospitals as well as the release this week of the new Ethical framework for End-of-life care mean that there is much to be celebrated this World Hospice & Palliative care day.

Hospice & palliative care organisations across the world will be taking stock of developments and taking the opportunity to promote and raise awareness of the need for continued support for hospice & palliative care initiatives. More details about World Hospice & Palliative care day events and activities are available HERE

World hospice & palliative care day 2010


October 9th 2010

This Saturday October 9th is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. This annual event aims to ‘celebrate & support’ hospice and palliative care, highlighting the continued importance of appropriate care and support at the end of life. Events and activities will take place internationally to raise awareness of hospice and palliative needs and to fundraise for new developments.

This year’s theme is  ‘Sharing the care’ .  This theme emphasizes the partnerships and collaborative processes inherent to hospice and palliative care; from family members and health professionals  to government bodies and policy administrators.

The World Hospice & Palliative Care website features resources and details of events and initiatives taking place around the world. The REPORTS section of the site provides access to a number of useful publications including ‘Suffering at end of life; the state of the world‘ ‘Access to pain relief; an essential human right‘ and the UK report on palliative care for all’. There are also messages of support from Mary Robinson, Gabriel Byrne and Archbishop Desmond Tutu among other palliative care advocates.

Among the international events to mark the day Our Lady’s Hospice & Palliative care services, Blackrock will host an event titled ‘Sharing the care in the community‘, and will be compiling a book of reflections.  Further details of this event are available HERE

Have a look at the website and take the opportunity to reflect on the role of hospice and palliative care locally and internationally.