New Seanad Public Consultation report on rights of elderly draws on findings of ‘Primary Palliative care in Ireland’

The Seanad Public Consultation Committee released its recommendation report on the rights of older people on Wednesday (March 28th).  The report calls on the government to put forward the case for the drafting of a UN treaty on the rights of older people.

Among a wide range of recommendations were transport allowances, reform of mental capacity legislation and a review of carers allowance payments to non-habitual residents.

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) was among a number of stakeholders who informed the consultation. The  report outlines end-of-life care recommendations set out by the Irish Hospice Foundation including the development of a formal framework for delivering palliative care through primary care teams as detailed in the Primary palliative care in Ireland report.  These include the establishment of  24 hour palliative care advice service and the provision of specialist training in end-of-life care for General Practitioners, these steps should enable the more than 80 % people with end stage diseases who wish to die in their own homes to do so.

The full Senad debate with stakeholders from November can be accessed HERE  and report in full can be accessed HERE 


Primary Palliative Care in Ireland – New report launched

Author of the report, Marie Lynch; Development manager Irish Hospice Foundation (L) pictured with Irish Hospice Foundation CEO Sharon Foley

The Irish Hospice Foundation last week launched  its new report Primary Palliative Care in Ireland: Identifying improvements in primary care to support the care of those in their last year of life”.

The report, a collaboration between the Irish Hospice Foundation, the HSE and the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) is the work of the Primary Palliative Care Steering Committee which was established in 2010 to embed palliative care in primary care settings.

Speaking at the launch of the report, chairperson of the Primary Palliative Care Steering Committee Dr Paul Gregan, acknowledged that with more than 90% of the last year of life spent at home, care for patients nearing the end of their lives is provided predominantly in a primary care environment. A recording of report author Marie Lynch, development manager with the Irish Hospice Foundation addressing the launch is available HERE 

In order to identify supports and work towards a formal framework for primary palliative care the Primary Palliative Care (PPC) programme conducted a survey in ten HSE Local Health offices during 2010. Survey findings outlined in the report indicate areas for skills development, service development and education. Some of the key findings from respondents include;

  •  A desire for enhanced communication skills for interacting with patients and families at end-of-life
  • Development of patient information transfer systems
  • Improvement of out of hours services
  • Training in end-of-life care

Taking the survey findings on board the programme now moves into the implementation phase.

You can download the report in full HERE or obtain a hard copy by contacting the Irish Hospice Foundation  on 01 6755975


Irish Hospice Foundation survey finds primary care staff want more training in end-of-life care

Results of a survey conducted by the Irish Hospice Foundation along with the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and the HSE reveal that healthcare staff want more training in end-of-life care.

The survey was carried out with community healthcare staff in Dublin, Offaly, Cork & Donegal in late 2010.

Access to specialised medical equipment and training in management of complex symptoms in terminal patients was seen as a priority for 87 and 66% of respondents respectively. Further details of the survey are available HERE.

Though 90% of care for Irish patients at the end of life is administered in a primary care setting there is currently no formal framework for supporting and delivering palliative care in this context. The survey highlights the key challenges for healthcare professionals delivering end of life care to the approximately 25% of patients who  die at home every year.  The survey data will inform the next stage of the Irish Hospice Foundations primary care, palliative care initiative and a full report on the findings and implications of the survey will be published later this year.

More information on the Primary care, Palliative care initiative is available HERE    

Helping GPs respond to bereaved patients

GP’s are often the first line of support for people following a bereavement.

How can doctors best respond to patients following a bereavement or support patients presenting with physical or mental health problems in the aftermath of a loss?

These questions are addressed by Dr Susan Delaney, bereavement services manager at the Irish Hospice Foundation in two pieces featured in the Irish Medical Times.

Part one ‘What to do when patients die’ highlights the important role GPs can play in ensuring the bereaved receive appropriate support. It refers to the emotional impact of bereavement on GPs themselves and looks to the bereavement protocol established by Dr Gertrude Ronan as a positive way forward in responding to bereavement issues in a primary care setting.

Part two, ‘A guide to bereavement care‘ which appears in today’s Irish Medical Times examines the personal nature of the grief journey reflecting on current accepted models of bereavement, like the dual process model postulated by Stroebe & Stroebe.  This second part aims to acquaint doctors with the varying levels of bereavement support and the range of services available to patients at different points in their bereavement and some useful services and resources are highlighted.