The Public Health Agency (PHA) is marking World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (Saturday 13 October 2012) by raising awareness of the importance of quality palliative and end of life care and the need for advancements in the way care is delivered for people living with a life-limiting illness, and their families.
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a day to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world and the theme this year is ‘Living to the end: palliative care for an ageing population’.
The number of older people living in Northern Ireland, aged 65 or more, is projected to increase by over a quarter by 2020, whilst the population aged 85 or more is projected to rise by 51% in the same period.*
Mary Hinds, Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, PHA, said: “The health and social care system has a role in enabling older people to live as full and healthy a life as possible. Northern Ireland’s ageing population want care, support and treatment in or close to home.
“The recent health and social care review, ‘Transforming Your Care’, puts the person – not the institution – at the very heart of their care, it shifts the emphasis from where someone is treated to how they are treated. This means, as we grow old, we can be confident that we can stay home, close to our loved ones for as long as possible.”
With a growing and ageing population and an increased prevalence of long term conditions, nursing homes now have a greater role to play in avoiding hospital admissions for older people and they need enhanced support to provide end of life care. The Health and Social Care Board has recently invested over £750,000 in a training and development programme for all registered nursing staff working in nursing homes. The main focus of the training is ensuring all nursing staff provide palliative and end of life care tailored specifically to suits the individual’s needs.
Mary continued: “Good quality palliative and end of life care will be important for us all. It has been encouraging to see the plans being taken forward by the Health and Social Care Board and the Trusts in partnership with local hospices and other providers, and involving local people.
“We aim to ensure that people receiving palliative care, their families and carers, are provided with high quality care across all settings and conditions, and are supported to enjoy a good quality of life, maximising their potential through the course of their illness.
“There is still some progress to be made within the context of the review of health and social services. We are looking for statutory and voluntary services to work together to make a significant difference in improving access to high quality services for those with life-limiting conditions, and to develop innovative approaches to care.”
To get involved in World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, log on to www.worldday.org/get-involved/ which gives you ideas and suggestions on what you can do on the day to support people living with life-limiting illnesses, and their families.
Contact PHA Communications on (028) 9055 3663.