Hospice for Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath 'vital'

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Hospice care

Hospice for Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath 'vital'

A shared hospice unit for Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath is 'vital' a Midlands Senator has said.

A meeting to address the lack of in-patient end-of-life and palliative services in the Midlands is taking place on Monday, April 19.

The four county Midlands region is the only region in Ireland that does not have a hospice and this must be urgently addressed according to Senator Fiona O’Loughlin who represents the Kildare area including Portarlington voters.

“The Midlands Region has been described as a blackspot when it comes to the lack of inpatient end-of-life services.

“I am determined that this situation not continue. I have facilitated a meeting between Minister Donnelly and the Chair of the Midlands hospice committee Professor Humphrey O`Connor to progress the provision of a site at Tullamore hospital on Monday, April, 19," she said.

A proposal for a 16-20 bed In-Patient Unit Hospice within the grounds of the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore was agreed in 2014, but the Midlands still has the lowest level of regional state investment in palliative care nationally with no specialist inpatient hospice unit.

“While the region is fortunate to have a well-developed palliative care service in the community and the aim is to care for people appropriately at home for as long as possible, the provision of specialist palliative care inpatient beds will facilitate hospital avoidance and support families in end-of-life care for their loved ones,” Senator O’Loughlin added.

The meeting will discuss how to facilitate this with the proposed unit in Tullamore Hospital as a priority for hospice in-patient care in the region.

Senator O’Loughlin first raised the issue in the Seanad last November.

“I want to acknowledge the commitment and leadership of Deputy Barry Cowen to progressing this, and for ensuring that it is  contained within the Programme for Government,” she added.