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Palliative Care, Because Every Moment Matters

Palliative Care Week 2018 begins on Sunday and in our blog this week, Brendan O’Hara from the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care explains why it is so important to raise people’s awareness and understanding of palliative care.

This Sunday marks the beginning of Palliative Care Week; an annual campaign facilitated by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care which runs this year from 9 to 15 September.  This time around our theme is ‘Palliative Care, Because Every Moment Matters’.

Palliative care focuses on helping a person, of any age, with a life-limiting illness, to achieve the best quality of life. It involves the management of pain and other symptoms and provides support for social, emotional and spiritual needs.

This care is for people with serious and progressive conditions, such as motor neurone disease, MS, dementia, advanced kidney disease or advanced lung disease, as well as advanced cancer and advanced heart disease.

Through our Palliative Care Week campaign, we want to encourage people to talk about palliative care; about what matters to them, and to receive help to give them a better quality of life.

This year marks the centenary of the birth of Dame Cicely Saunders, a palliative care pioneer. Our theme resonates with Dame Cicely’s iconic quote: “You matter because you are you and you matter until the end of your life.”

Our awareness campaign is aimed at both the public and health and social care professionals. We are encouraging everyone to begin a conversation about a topic often considered too difficult and too frightening to discuss, the reality of living with a life-limiting illness. We want people to talk about what matters to them, and to receive help to give them a better quality of life.

Palliative Care Week will be formally launched on Monday 10 September with events in Belfast City Hall and The Mansion House in Dublin.

Our campaign this year will benefit from people talking about their experiences of palliative care. A total of eight short videos have been produced, with participants from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, from Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, Dublin, Cork and Galway. The videos will be launched during Palliative Care Week and will be available at

If you would like to find out more and/or get involved in promoting positive messages about what palliative care can offer to people who need it, their families/carers and the wider community, please see our resources here. The Palliative Care Week leaflet can be viewed here.

Please also get involved through your social media channels; visit AIIHPC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @AIIHPC and use #pallcareweek for the campaign.


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charlie lynn 09-Sep-2018 at 18:51 hrs

can I just say it is so heart warming to know that so many people do such great work. Bless them all.
Charlie Lynn.


A Gamble 08-Sep-2018 at 19:02 hrs

I was not particularly impressed with the palliative care my mother received in hospital. My mother kept groaning because she was uncomfortable lying on her back. However, when I explained to the medical staff that my mother preferred to lie on her side ..... she stopped groaning. The driver with the 'cocktail' was also empty and started to bleep. A young nurse walked in, and walked out again, until I looked at the driver and chased after him to alert him to the problem!
I know that 'Dignity in Dying', an organisation which supports just that, is trying to get legislation through Parliament to change the law on enabling us to chose the way we want to die when we are terminally ill. It can take 3 weeks to die, without food or liquid, and in the end you often cannot recognise the person you love. (Noel Conway in England has taken his case to the Courts to try to get the BMA to change its stance on the current outdated legislation). You have to be in sound mind, have a number of doctors to confirm your terminal diagnosis within the next 6 months, and then be aided by doctors to end your life with dignity.