18 May 2022

Local councillor highlights Palliative Care Week

Cllr Helena Dallat O'Driscoll lost her father, John, earlier this year.

Local councillor highlights Palliative Care Week

Hospice staff were a huge help to the Dallat family after John's passing.

A public awareness campaign is underway this week to highlight the difference palliative care can make to patients, carers and families.

Palliative Care Week, led by the All-Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), is now in its seventh year and is running a series of online events from September 13 to 19.

Causeway Coast and Glens Councillor, Helena Dallat O'Driscoll, has lent her support to this year's campaign, which has 'in this together' as its theme.

Cllr Dallat O'Driscoll is the daughter of the late John Dallat, who passed away earlier this year.

“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,” she said.

“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.

“This annual awareness campaign educates the public on the importance of palliative care and highlights the benefits of accessing such specialist care when needed.”

The Kilrea councillor said the work of the hospice is 'invaluable' at a time when families are at their most vulnerable.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

For more information on Palliative Care Week, visit the AlIHPC website, where details of the events can be found.

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