The All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) has made a call across Northern Ireland for new volunteers to join the Voices4Care forum which contributes to end of life care policy and support in Ireland.
Local representative nurse Connie Connolly from Rostrevor, Co Down said that AIIHPC call was open anyone with an interest in policy formation in Ireland – including volunteers with a life limiting disease, a carer who is involved with, or known, palliative care first hand or those with an interest in the area of end of life care.
Palliative care focusses on helping a person with a life limiting illness to achieve the best quality of life as their illness progresses.
Mrs Connolly has been involved with the Forum since 2018. A retired Registered Nurse, who is also the Registered Nurse Manager of Life & Time (an end of life Charity operating across South Down) Connie says the Forum has given her an opportunity to contribute and become part of a community who have an interest in, and experience of, end of life issues.
“I have cared for many family members during their journey to the end of their life, including my husband who died of Dementia at age 59. I have lived experience caring for my husband for ten years, with three young children whilst working full-time. I have gained valuable insight into the challenges for carers, in particular young carers – and particularly the gap in services for young people who have a parent with a life limiting illness.
“My core belief is that everyone has only end of life journey, and every effort should be made to provide comprehensive, seamless, compassionate care to the individual and their care circle – irrespective of disease, location, and their choice of place of death,” Connie explains.
Involvement in Voices4Care has given Connie and other participants the opportunity to consult on Department of Health Advance Care Planning Initiative and other policy formation for palliative care.
“It’s been very rewarding to be able to contribute based on our family experience in order to affect positive change. Voices4Care enables volunteers and carers like me to ‘pay forward’ their learning to support others.
“I’d invite anyone considering getting involved to get in touch with All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC).”
AIIHPC has 27 partners including a range of hospices, health and social care organisations and universities on the island of Ireland. Paul Turley, Lead for the Department of Health’s Palliative Care in Partnership, programme for Northern Ireland, said:
“Voices4Care members provide an important contribution and have meaningful opportunities to influence and shape palliative care through participation in research projects, consultation processes and policy development in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,” Mr Turley said.
Karen Charnley, Director, AIIHPC, added:
“This presents a unique opportunity for people to make a significant contribution to the future of palliative care services. The voices of those who have direct experience of palliative care is a vital part of informing and influencing our own work within AIIHPC and also wider palliative care developments across the island of Ireland.”
*Applicants must be 18 years or over at the time of application.
To complete an expression of interest form contact Paula Pinto, firstname.lastname@example.org, 00353 87 1961430