Dying in Irish hospitals

Categories: Policy.

Great strides have been made to recognise palliative and end-of-life care as an important area of healthcare in our hospitals, but more needs to be done. At the upcoming Hospice Friendly Hospitals Conference on Wednesday 27 April in the Strand Hotel, Limerick, key note speaker Professor Bee Wee will share the UK experience and the new NHS framework that makes a big difference to people’s final days.
But however skilfully we perform our duties, and however advanced the prevention, identification, treatment and care options available to us become, every life comes to an end. It’s therefore crucial that meeting the distinct needs of people who are reaching the end of their lives is a priority across our hospital system, especially for the professionals who work within it.

The key note speaker of this conference Professor Bee Wee, National Clinical Director for end of life care, NHS, will share the UK framework on how to compassionately make the difference to people’s final days.  Over 200 health professionals from doctors, nurses, social workers are expected to attend the one day conference in Limerick.  Delegates already confirmed are travelling from the UK, Spain and Singapore to attend.  This is the first time that a conference in Ireland will present on projects that have made a difference to the care of dying in Irish Hospitals, and is organised by the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Hospital Friendly Hospitals Programme in partnership with the HSE and the University Of Limerick Hospital Group.

Decision making in the ICU and the perspective of bereaved relatives all play a vital role in compassionate care in hospitals.  Speakers include Dr Patrick Neligan, Medical Director Critical Care, Galway University Hospitals, and Bettina Korn and Diarmuid Ó Coimin, End of Life Coordinators from St James Hospital and Mater Hospital.  Dr Eoin Tiernan, Palliative Medicine Consultant, St Vincent’s Hospital will discuss the impact of early palliative care involvement in the emergency department from the PAL.M.E.D Project.
The programme also includes three parallel afternoon sessions, one explores the challenges and obstacles to successful communication at end of life and will examine how comfort and confidence may be influenced by health professionals’ preparedness to discuss their own death and end-of-life care. The second session will discuss hospital transformation renovation projects (mortuaries, bereavement suites, viewing rooms) funded by the Design & Dignity Programme a partnership programme between the Irish Hospice Foundation and HSE.  Working in the context of death, dying and bereavement impacts on care professionals so the third session looks at practical resilience strategies and initiatives to support them deliver the compassionate care they aspire to.

IHF Head of Healthcare Programmes, Ms Marie Lynch said, “Compassionate care is what we all want at the end of our lives, , this conference allows the opportunity to showcase hospital projects and research to inspire the health professionals and to accelerate the pace of improvement.”