Voices4Care- a unique opportunity for volunteers to contribute to the future of palliative care services

The All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) is offering a unique opportunity for members of the public to help to shape the future of palliative care services across the island of Ireland.

AIIHPC is looking for new volunteers to join Voices4Care, a volunteer group established to include, and to learn from the personal experiences of palliative care of its members.

Members of Voices4Care are:

·         People with a life-limiting illness who may have palliative care needs

·         Carers or former carers of people with palliative care needs

·         Members of the public with an interest in palliative care.

Palliative care focuses on helping each person with a life-limiting illness to achieve the best possible quality of life as their illness progresses, by supporting them and their caregivers with their physical, practical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. It helps people with a serious illness to live as well as they can for as long as they can and is beneficial for people with a range of conditions, and across all ages.

Dr Feargal Twomey, Consultant in Palliative Medicine and National Clinical Lead for Palliative Care, HSE,

“Palliative care is everyone’s business.

As none of us will live forever, at some point in our lives, either we or someone we know or are close to will need care because they become ill. Most people with advanced illness will need general palliative care from their family, their carers and the healthcare service, while some with more complex problems will need specialist palliative care at home, in hospital or at a hospice.

Members of Voices4Care play an important role in the work of the HSE Clinical Programme for Palliative Care and have contributed to the development of the soon to be published National Policy for Palliative Care. The recent publication of the National End of Life Care Survey highlights the need for the health services to hear the views of the public who have experienced palliative care or end of life and bereavement care,” Dr Twomey said.

Marian O’ Mahony, a Member of Voices4Care recalls her own experience of being a member of Voices4Care,

“I volunteered for Voices4Care, though I didn’t know anything about what it would mean to be involved. It turned out to be such a huge benefit to me, and hopefully, I have contributed something. It’s a good feeling when someone wants to listen to what I have to say. It’s incredibly reassuring to know the efforts that people make to ensure the best care and the best outcome for patients and families when they need it most. It’s good to be able to contribute to that discussion.

“In short being able to contribute opinion and experience rather than physical effort, being part of the positive change for the future, are among the benefits to me. I’ve learned so much about how our system works in this country, and the many wonderful efforts made to ensure that services are always improving. I’ve also made many new friends as it’s a very inclusive, positive environment that feels like family, everyone is valued,” Marian said.

“The Voices4Care volunteer group is an integral part of the work of AIIHPC. The voices of those who have direct experience of palliative care and those who are interested in contributing to the improvement of palliative care services are essential in helping us to progress developments in palliative care,” Karen Charnley, CEO, AIIHPC.

Applications open on Wednesday 1 May and will close on Sunday 16 June 2024. *Applicants must be 18 years or over at the time of application.

Further information about joining Voices4Care is available at www.aiihpc.org. People interested in getting involved are asked to complete an expression of interest form by Sunday, 16 June. To find out more, contact: Paula Pinto, ppinto@aiihpc.org , +353 87 1961430.

 

ENDS

For media enquiries or to request an interview please contact Yvonne McCahill, Communications Manager, AIIHPC, ymccahill@aiihpc.org, 00353-87-0947148.

Notes to Editor:

The All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care

 

AIIHPC’s vision is to help to deliver on the premise that “excellent palliative care is available for everyone at the right time and place across the island of Ireland.”

The All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) was established in October 2010 with the stated aims and objectives of advancing education, research, policy and practice in palliative care on the island of Ireland to improve the care experience of people with life-limiting conditions and their families.

AIIHPC is a collaboration of 27 hospices, health and social care organisations, support organisation charities, service users and universities from across the island of Ireland, with ongoing support and input from both Departments of Health and key health agencies.

AIIHPC funders are spread across both jurisdictions, and these include the HSE, Health

Research Board, Health and Social Care R&D Division, Public Health Agency and the Public Health Agency. In addition, the work of the Institute is financially supported by its member organisations.

AIIHPC is widely recognised as being representative of all major key stakeholders in the palliative care sector on an all-island basis with the following focus:

  • Involving professionals, service users, carers and communities in palliative care delivery and development,
  • Working to integrate palliative care across the health system so people are supported as early as possible,
  • Supporting the development of palliative care services, both specialist and generalist, for everyone who needs them,
  • Promoting the engagement of third level institutions in active and ongoing research initiatives in the palliative care field.