An effort is underway in Ireland to make palliative care a common component of primary care. Why? It is an acknowledgement of the specialty’s skill with patients in the process of dying, coupled with an awareness that more than 90 percent of the final year of life is spent at home -- so care is heavily reliant on primary care.
Now that the Irish Hospice Foundation has issued its report, “Primary Palliative Care in Ireland: Identifying improvements in primary care to support the care of those in their last year of life,” the next step is making it happen.
A 2010 survey on end-of-life care informs the report and found “a desire for enhanced communication skills for interacting with patients and families at end-of-life.” The survey also underscored the importance of developing “patient information transfer systems, improvement of out of hours services, and training in end-of-life care.”
Another welcome sign that palliative care is emerging from its ghetto of last resort.