Palliative Care: Still Largely Misunderstood by the Public

Categories: Care.

Eighty-five percent of respondents did not believe that there is
sufficient public understanding of palliative care.


Head of Institute at AIIHPC Karen Charnley said the survey showed the
need for greater public education on the benefits of palliative care and when
it is appropriate.


She said: “By focussing on meeting people with life limiting condition’s physical,
social, emotional and spiritual needs and involving friends and family,
palliative care helps maintain quality of life.


“We want to raise awareness that palliative care can benefit the quality
of life of any person with a life-limiting or life-shortening illness. Palliative
care puts the individual at the centre of every decision, helping them to make
choices and supporting their families and carers.


“It is very important that the public are well informed and feel
comfortable to discuss their concerns beyond the diagnosis of illness that
cannot be cured.” 


Among the 55% with a low level of understanding, 27% identified a basic
understanding, 12% a low level and 16% said that they did not understand what
palliative care involves at all.


Young people (18-34) were more likely to know little about palliative
care as 29% reported no level of understanding compared to 12% for 35-54 year
olds and 4% among over 55s.



HSE National Lead for Palliative Care, Sheilagh Reaper-Reynolds
encouraged the public to take the opportunity to find out more and to talk
about palliative care within families and also with health professionals.


She said: “Through our National Clinical Programme for Palliative Care and by
supporting initiatives such as Palliative Care Week, our aim is to alleviate
fears and anxieties surrounding palliative care services. This will help ensure
that people with life-limiting conditions and their families can easily access
the type of palliative care services that best meet their needs.”


Palliative Care Week is taking place from Monday 3 October.


Information about palliative care and Palliative Care
Week is available at where a new section
for health and social care professionals has been added.

The latest research was carried out as part of an omnibus survey by iReach
Insights on a representative sample of 1000 adults across Ireland.


The All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) aims
to improve end-of-life care and experience on the island of Ireland by
enhancing capacity, developing knowledge, promoting learning, influencing
policy and shaping practice. AIIHPC is comprised of a consortium of Health
Agencies and Universities in the North and South of Ireland and its work is
focused on three areas – policy & practice, research and education.



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