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WA42 Proving its worth – changing public policy for palliative care, end of life care and bereavement through advocacy and communications
  1. Angela Edghill and
  2. Miriam Donohoe
  1. Irish Hospice Foundation, Ireland

Abstract

Background The 2015 palliative care budget is €72 million (Euros) but up to €1.3 billion spent on end of life care annually – much of this larger figure unplanned and uncoordinated. Geographic and other inequities evident in palliative care provision.

Aim Build support for the development and implementation of a National Strategy on Palliative Care, End of Life and Bereavement.

Method Multi-layered approach to raising awareness and building consensus:

  • Targeting the correct audience who can make change happen

  • Presenting robust evidence including costs justifying reform and investment

  • Demonstrating that issues affect a significant number of people

  • Sharing experience and knowledge

  • Knowing their policy priorities

  • Staying resilient – advancing and introducing new angles to argument

  • Engaging directly as advocates within the political system at all political levels – developing relationships with politicians

  • Identifying advocates in the public service to promote policy change

  • Using a variety of new and existing projects and programmes

  • Encouraging patients and families to be self-advocates – using a novel project for discussing and recording future care preferences

  • Supporting healthcare professionals to become effective advocates for patients

  • Creating alliances to lobby for policy development

  • Using media opportunities to sell the message

Results The recognition of the importance of a strategic approach to palliative and end of life care acknowledged in Parliamentary Committee Report affords an opportunity to develop further policy and practice.

Conclusion This a long – term exercise, dependent on supporting the implementation plan, building momentum and promoting a public dialogue on sensitive issues around dying, death and bereavement.

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