The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) is supporting the 6th annual Palliative Care Week (8-14 September 2019) facilitated by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care.
This year’s Palliative Care Week aims to raise awareness of the difference palliative care can make to patients, carers and families with focus on community support. Palliative care ensures that a person with a serious and progressive life limiting condition, regardless of age or disease has the best possible quality of life which involves the management of pain and other symptoms and provid social, emotional and spiritual support. The approach aims to involve the person and those close to them and supports planning for the future placing the person at the centre of every decision. Palliative Care may be appropriate for a number of years, not just the weeks and days at the end of life.
John McGarvey, Assistant Director for Intermediate Care and Rehabilitation, Western Trust said: “People with palliative care needs are being supported by the whole community beyond formal health and social care services. The pivotal role provided by the District Nurse as the Keyworker ensures a coordinated approach, enhances communication with the aim to ensure that the right people are involved at the right time. Palliative care is provided by a range of professionals, alongside family carers and communities, supporting a person whether they are at home, in a nursing home, hospital or hospice.
John added: “We want people to have a better understanding of palliative care, so if the need arises for themselves or someone close to them, they will feel able to discuss it with their loved ones and health professionals. Don’t be afraid to ask your GP or any other healthcare professional if palliative care could help you or someone you love.”
Dr Conn Haughey, Macmillan Consultant in Palliative Medicine and Clinical Lead in Western Trust commented: “Palliative care is not only for people with advanced cancer but also for people living with advanced heart or lung disease, kidney failure and other conditions such as motor neurone disease or dementia. Some people live with their condition for a long time and have extended periods of being well, allowing them to move in and out of palliative care services as their needs change. Knowing a loved one is comfortable, with their pain and other needs well managed, can make it easier to spend quality time together doing the things that matter most. Palliative care maximises the quality of life for the person at the centre of care and those important to them and it continues that care into bereavement.”