4 in 5 people, if living with a serious illness, would like their doctor or healthcare professional to talk to them about palliative care if it could help them.
The finding is from a new survey of the public’s perceptions of palliative care commissioned by the All-Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) to highlight Palliative Care Week, this week, and which runs until September 18.
Palliative care can be received in many different settings, such as in a hospice/specialist palliative care unit, a hospital, a nursing home, or the person’s own home. The theme for the eighth annual Palliative Care Week is ‘Palliative Care: It’s More Than You Think’.
The survey of 1,000 people in the Republic of Ireland carried out in July 2021, also highlighted some of the misconceptions that exist about palliative care. Here, 1 in 4 people would think they only have days to live if their doctor or healthcare professional talked to them about palliative care, whereas palliative care may be appropriate for several years, not just for weeks and days at a person’s end of life. While 1 in 4 would feel their doctor is giving up on them if they talked to them about palliative care.
Over 60% of respondents said they don’t mind where they receive palliative care as long as they have a good quality of life and their physical and emotional pain is managed, and they are comfortable.
Speaking ahead of Palliative Care Week 2021, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, said: “Palliative care is a key part of the health service in Ireland, involving a wide range of professionals providing the highest standard of care. Throughout the pandemic, the valuable work provided by our healthcare professionals has been brought into sharp focus.
“Palliative care plays a vital role in maintaining the quality of life for people with life-limiting conditions, and it’s important that everyone understands what palliative care is and the benefits of accessing this care when needed. Palliative Care Week helps to create this awareness and I encourage everyone to find out more.”
Palliative Care Week reflects AIIHPC’s commitment to raising awareness of the positive impact that palliative care has on the lives of people with serious health conditions and those closest to them – it allows them to live their lives as fully as they can by supporting their physical, social, emotional and spiritual health needs.
The week also recognises the role of all their healthcare professionals who come together, even throughout a global pandemic, to provide palliative care services and support in communities all across the island of Ireland.