Palliative Care Awareness Week
11th September 2023
Over half of people in Northern Ireland believe that if a person is receiving palliative care, they are in the last days and weeks of their lives
Four in ten adults in Northern Ireland prefer not to think or talk about palliative care, according to new research from the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC).
Over half of people surveyed believe that if a person is receiving palliative care, they are in the last days and weeks of their lives. The finding is from a new survey of the public’s perceptions of palliative care commissioned by All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) to highlight Palliative Care Week, which takes place on 10 – 16 September 2023.
The survey also highlighted some of the positive perceptions that exist about palliative care:
- Six in ten adults believe that palliative care may be suitable for several years
- Nearly eight in ten adults agree that palliative care supports family, friends and carers during and after an illness
- Seven in ten adults think that palliative care should be considered as early as possible when diagnosed with a life-limiting illness
- Eight in ten adults think palliative care is beneficial for anyone with a life-limiting illness
- Seven in ten adults agree that palliative care focuses all aspects of the person – physical, social, emotional and spiritual care
- Nearly eight in ten adults think palliative care is suitable for people of any age.
This year is the 10th annual Palliative Care Week. To mark this milestone, AIIHPC has explored how people’s perceptions of palliative care have changed throughout the years by including questions from the 2016 and 2018 campaigns in the 2023 survey. The 2023 results show that:
- Adults are less open now to talking about palliative care than they were in 2016. Today one in two adults prefer not to talk about palliative care, compared to one in four in 2015. This highlights the importance of continuing to encourage people to be open to discussing palliative and end of life care with their loved ones.
- Today, half of the adults surveyed still believe that if a person is receiving palliative care they are in the last days or weeks of life. This is a slight improvement in people’s knowledge back in 2018, when over half (56%) believed this.
The theme of this year’s Palliative Care Week is ‘Palliative Care: Living for today, planning for tomorrow.’ This was chosen following collaboration with AIIHPC’s members and the wider palliative care sector. It reflects the commitment of AIIHPC and its member organisations to improving the quality of life of people with life-limiting illnesses and their families. The comparative data above shows the relevance of this theme and the importance of the campaign.
Watch the video below from Dr Catherine Doherty, consultant in Palliative Medicine, to find out about the work of our palliative care teams and what it means.
For further information on events available for the public visit The Palliative Hub.