Up to 2,500 terminally-ill patients are denied access to hospice inpatient care each year because of the lack of services nationwide. A new report by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) found three times as many hospice beds are needed in the country to meet demand.

The report notes that one way to use resources more effectively is to divert them towards more hospice home care. We know from Irish and international research that about two-thirds of our population want to die in their own home. The reality is that overall, only 26% of people in Ireland achieve this wish, and again, the data in this report reflects wide regional variation. The provision of specialist palliative home care nurses makes a critical difference in enabling a person to remain at home until death, and in moving forward, hospice home care services must be protected.

Here at Be Independent Home Care with our home care assistants operating in the community, caring for people in their homes, particularly those at the end of life we have seen first hand the critical assistance that the hospice home care service provide. Quite simply dying at home would not be an option for many of these clients without this support.

How we care for the dying is a fundamental mark of our evolution as a society. For the person who is dying, impeccable assessment of their individual needs and the provision of care appropriate to those needs, for themselves and their caregivers, both through the dying process and afterwards, is the best support that can be provided to ensure a good death. This assessment and care is the core role of the healthcare professional providing end-of-life care in the home, hospital or hospice. For us in Be Independent Home Care we provide support to clients through non medical palliative home care assistance and without the hospice team often this would not be possible. It is a real privilege to be part of a person’s final journey at home and every person should at least have the choice to die supported at home.

To read more from this report please see http://hospicefoundation.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Access-to-specialist-palliative-care-services-place-of-death-in-Ireland.pdf