Meeting to urgently address Midlands hospice black spot

A meeting was held last week to address the lack of end-of-life and palliative services in the Midlands.

The Midlands region of Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath is the only region in Ireland that does not have a hospice and this must be urgently addressed according to local Senator Fiona O’Loughlin.

“The Midlands Region has been described as a ‘blackspot’ when it comes to the lack of inpatient end-of-life services,” said Senator O’Loughlin.

“I am determined that this situation not continue,” she added. “I 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 last Monday, April, 19.”

Despite a proposal for a 16-20 bed In-Patient Unit (Hospice) within the grounds of the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore agreed in 2014, the Midlands still have 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 discussed how to facilitate this with the proposed unit in Tullamore Hospital as a priority for hospice in-patient care in the region.

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