When someone is facing the end of life they may choose to remain in their home if this is possible. For those who do make this decision, the services of the Specialist Community Palliative Home Care Team are very important. The Specialist Palliative Home Care team aims to support those who choose to be cared for and sometimes die in their own homes. This service may also sometimes be provided in community hospitals and nursing homes. However, whether you are at home, in a nursing home or in a community hospital, the patient’s family doctor will still have overall responsibility for monitoring and supervising their medical care. The specialist palliative care nurse will work with him/her, the public health nurse and others to care for and support the patient and carers. The focus is on helping the patient achieve the best possible quality of Life. In addition to the above service The Irish Cancer Society also offers a night nursing service to people with cancer who are in the last days of their life, and this can be accessed via the public health nurse or specialist home care team.
Where patients have requested not to remain at home or where patients require complex symptom management it may be considered appropriate to refer them for admission to the Specialist Hospice Inpatient unit.
A list of hospices in Ireland can be found on The Irish Hospice Foundation website hospice-foundation.ie
For more information on these services or to request a referral speak to your GP or Public Health Nurse.
The Citizens Information Service offers excellent guidance on the practicalities of coping with the death of someone. It covers areas such as registering a death, organizing funerals and burials etc.. For more information follow the link “When Someone Dies in Ireland” or contact your local Citizen Information Office.
There are many bereavement services and support groups throughout the country, both public and private, professional and voluntary, religious and secular. If you have concerns or find it hard to cope, contact your GP or your specialist palliative care service.
The Irish Hospice Foundation has also provided a series of short, simple information leaflets aimed at people who are bereaved. You can access them here.
Palliative care is an holistic approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life threatening illness. Through a variety of measures its primary focus is the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychological and spiritual.
Palliative care for children represents a special, albeit closely related field to adult palliative care. WHO’s definition of palliative care appropriate for children and their families is as follows; the principles apply to other paediatric chronic disorders (WHO; 1998a):
Palliative care is provided in a number of ways by specialist palliative care in-patient units (hospices). These units form the hub around which other services are developed. Currently there are nine hospice units; three in the Dublin area and one each in counties Limerick, Cork, Galway, Kildare, Sligo and Donegal.
Hospice or palliative care is provided:
Palliative care is provided by the HSE in partnership with voluntary service providers. The Irish Cancer Society for example provides a night nursing support to people with cancer who are in the last days of their life, and this can be accessed via the public health nurse or specialist home care team.
Both public and private patients can use the palliative care in-patient units and other services. You can be referred for palliative care services in a number of ways; through your family doctor or through your hospital doctor in consultation with your family doctor or through the hospital’s specialist palliative care team in consultation with your family doctor.
You can talk to any of the above on your own initiative about getting a referral.
**Extract taken from Citizen Information website**
If you are in receipt of Palliative Care as either a Hospice Inpatient or as an outpatient with the Specialist Palliative Home Care Team a range of services are available
The objective of the Physiotherapy service is to improve symptoms associated with the various conditions which may affect palliative care patients and to help patients live their lives as fully as possible.
Physiotherapists will also provide patients with advice and education on home exercises, back care, postural control and best breathing techniques.
The focus of Occupational Therapy in Palliative Care is to support independence and quality of life by assisting patients to set and accomplish goals in the areas of their lives which are important to them.
The range of therapeutic interventions provided by the Occupational Therapist includes:
The Palliative Care Social Worker provides support and counselling to patients and their families, as they attempt to adjust to significant changes in their lifestyle as a result of illness.
They also provide information and advice about welfare benefits and community resources.