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OA34 Forum on end of life: working to influence policy
  1. Catherine McGuinness1,
  2. Sarah Murphy2 and
  3. Patricia Rickard Clarke3
  1. 1National Council of the Forum on End of Life
  2. 2Think Ahead, Irish Hospice Foundation
  3. 3Research and Development, National Council of the Forum on End of Life, Ireland

Abstract

Background The Forum on End of Life in Ireland was launched in 2009 and has conducted a year-long public consultation about end of life issues. A National Council was set up to carry out the work of the Forum. Think Ahead is a public awareness initiative of the Forum on End of Life in Ireland which guides people in recording important information in the event that they are unable to speak for themselves, due to serious illness, emergency or death.

Aim The Forum has advocated for legislation of advance health care directives and has worked to raise awareness among members of the public in relation to their rights. Currently in Ireland while common law recognises people’s right to express preferences and make directives, there has been no legislative framework for this, despite European and international law regarding personal autonomy and the right to self-determination.

Method

  • Organised briefings and information seminars for public representatives

  • Organised public meetings and national conferences which deal with the importance of advance healthcare directives

  • Spoke of the importance of advance healthcare directives and advance care planning as part of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Health Committee hearings on end of life

  • Called for wider national end of life strategy to take a comprehensive approach to end of life issues, including health, legal, administrative, financial and social.

Results Advance healthcare directives are provided for in the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Bill 2013.

Conclusion The aforementioned Bill has yet to be enacted and there remains work to be done in developing policy in this area.

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