Palliative care 'not just for last days of life'

  • Deborah Condon

There is a common perception that palliative care is all bout providing pain relief to older people during their last days of life. However, a new campaign aims to change this belief.

‘Making the Most of Life' is a nationwide campaign coordinated by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC). It aims to highlight how this type of care can improve the quality of life of any person with an incurable illness, regardless of their age or medical condition.

"A palliative care approach looks at much more than medical need. It seeks to care for all aspects of the person - mind, body and spiritual. It is beneficial for anyone with a non-curable illness, regardless of age or condition and also supports their family, friends and carers both during an illness and afterwards," noted AIIHPC director, Paddie Blaney.

He pointed out that in order to achieve the best outcome, palliative care should be started ‘as early as possible for a number of years, not the weeks and days at the end of life'.

The campaign is supported by the patient support group, Voices4Care, and according to Carmel Geoghegan of that group, palliative care ‘enables people to enjoy a better quality of life when faced with an incurable illness'.

Ms Geoghegan's own mother received this type of care and she emphasised that this was ‘a great comfort' for both her mother and their extended family and friends.

The campaign is also being supported by the Department of Health, the HSE, Northern Ireland health agencies, and hospice and palliative care providers nationwide. It will run during Palliative Care Week, which is due to take place from October 6-11.

More information will be available from September 27 at www.palliativecareweek.com

 


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