SDLP Causeway Coast and Glens Councillor, Helena Dallat O’Driscoll, has lent her support to the seventh Palliative Care Week, a public awareness campaign led by the All-Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care.
Palliative Care Week this year runs from 13 – 19 September and aims to raise awareness of the difference palliative care can make to patients, carers and families. This year’s theme is “Palliative Care: In this together”.
Councillor Dallat O’Driscoll, daughter of the late John Dallat MLA, said:
“While the programme of events for Palliative Care Week is dramatically different this year because of COVID-19, this annual awareness campaign educates the public on the importance of palliative care and highlights the benefits of accessing such specialist care when needed.
“As many know, I lost my father just months ago to prostate cancer. His final weeks were difficult and COVID-19 did not ease our situation. We were, and will forever remain, incredibly grateful for the input of our Northern Ireland Hospice community nurse, Ciara. Thanks to our hospice nurse, we were able to care for dad at home and it is impossible for me to put into adequate words our gratitude for that outstanding end-of-life care.
“Dad was my first great loss and, after his terminal diagnosis, it was hard to fathom the magnitude of what we were about to face as a family. However, having a hospice nurse to walk us through that experience enabled us all to learn invaluable lessons. With the help of our hospice nurse, we quickly learned about symptom assessment and pain relief but also the preciousness of life and how to let someone with so precious little time left ‘live’ as fully as possible until the end.
“Palliative care, whether provided in one’s own home, a hospice, hospital or nursing home, is a vitally important part of our care system. The hospice is an incredible movement that has had a profound effect on my family’s life. I have made it one of my top priorities to ensure that all families that need palliative care services can continue to access high quality care when they are at their most vulnerable.”