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Gleeson backing hospice reforms

ACTOR Brendan Gleeson is to launch a new Dublin report on end-of-life care.

The report shows that a quarter of Irish people over 65 die outside the home.

Mr Gleeson has been a vocal supporter of the St Francis Hospice, where his father Frank died.

While the majority of people over 65 die in long-stay care facilities, the staff working in them have a variety of experiences dealing with death and dying, and they may lack formal training in palliative and end-of-life practices, the report says.

Improving Quality: Caring For People Living And Dying In Long Stay Settings sets out the findings of a quality initiative in three north Dublin long -stay care of the elderly units.

Some 37 deaths were reviewed as part of the project. As a result, recommendations were made which included improving the management of symptoms, as well as communication with families.

Information was collected through a questionnaire where staff identified their own learning needs in relation to caring for dying residents.

These were then addressed in a tailor-made education programme that staff attended at St Francis Hospice.







Families

The project was funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation, and was carried out by Una Molloy, a nurse at the St Francis Hospice, Raheny, on behalf of a steering committee.

Among the recommendations are that families and next-of-kin should be included in care planning, "in a way that is compatible with the residents best wishes and in line with ethical and legal requirements".

It said there is a need to review the manner in which residents' spiritual-care needs are addressed.

"In the absence of a chaplain, lay pastoral care staff ought to be utilised in the units to assist in providing this care."

It recommends the development of communication skills should be facilitated "that will enhance staff competencies with regard to end-of-life care discussions with residents and families".

The report supported the development of rapid-access assessment facilities in accident and emergency departments for long-term care residents who require assessment and treatment in the acute setting.

hnews@herald.ie


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