Hospice Care, also commonly known amongst health professionals as palliative care, is the approach that improves the quality of life for patients and their families facing terminal or life threatening illness. It is done through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other problems whether physical, spiritual or psychological. This care will enable the patient to live their life to the full, right to the end.
- provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
- affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
- intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
- integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
- offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
- offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
- uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
- will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
- is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.
(World Health Organisation 2002)
Why we need a Hospice in Kilkenny
There is no Level 3 Hospice in Kilkenny or Carlow.
50% of people who die, do so in acute hospitals. This environment is totally unsuitable to the needs of the patient and their families as, often:
- they are surrounded by noise and trauma;
- out of necessity, they are placed in overcrowded, public settings;
- there simply is no privacy in which to die in dignity.
Currently, the only hospice provision in Kilkenny is by the Home Care Team, who provide excellent care but are severely over-stretched and under-funded.
For the lucky few who are fortunate enough to secure a place at one of the existing hospices in Ireland, there are still difficulties associated with being far from home:
- For the Patient: Stress of separation from family.
- For family and friends: The challenges of of constantly travelling long distances and living out of home.
With the provision of a dedicated hospice in Kilkenny, the Susie Long Hospice Fund aims for as many people as possible to have the calm, peaceful and supportive environment at the end of their lives which everyone deserves.
Back in 2001, the HSE identified the need for a 12-bed In-patient Palliative Care Unit (Hospice) at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny and planned to complete it by 2013. It never happened.
In 2018, the eleventh anniversary of the untimely death of Susie Long, the Susie Long Hospice Fund is calling once again on the Government and the HSE to allocate the necessary funding and resources to build and operate the Hospice.
What the Hospice in Kilkenny will provide
When operational, the Hospice will provide Palliative Care services to the people of Kilkenny and Carlow, including:
(a) day-care services
(b) outpatient clinics
(c) respite care
(d) access to multidisciplinary specialist services
(e) terminally ill people will receive appropriate care in a suitable environment
(f) a place where the terminally ill of all ages will find the comfort and tranquility of a home-like environment, rather than a busy acute care hospital setting,
(g) terminally ill patients will be able to die with dignity, surrounded only by caring staff and loved ones
(h) it is envisaged that the Hospice will enable more people to be discharged from hospital settings to their preferred place of care i.e. the home.