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Month: April 2017

Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

The following interview was conducted by Shaun Doherty from Highland Radio, Donegal
prior to presenting a training/reflection day on Advanced Healthcare Directives and Living
Wills in a beautiful setting called Cuan Ri in Donegal.


What is an End of Life Care Trainer & Educator?

Since I was sixteen years old, and working as a care-assistant, I have been committed to understanding and alleviating suffering for all those experiencing ill health and for the dying and their families. I then went on to become a nurse, a trainer, a complimentary therapist and a spiritual care educator. I worked for many years as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with a Community Palliative Care Team delivering holistic palliative care to those with life-limiting illnesses, the dying and their families in Dublin. I also began providing End-of Life-Care (EOLC) trainings on the Principles, Philosophy and Practice of Palliative Care nationally. I am fully committed to raising awareness around EOLC issues including the need for the delivery of non-denominational Spiritual Care. My motivation for ongoing education is an aspiration to share one's knowledge, skills and attitudinal competencies in order to up-skill multi-skilled health care professionals and the public, through increasing their capacity to facilitate a good dying process for all.

It is relatively new to talk about living wills in Ireland?

It is. It is hot off the press at the moment because there is an assisted decision capacity bill only passed by the Oireachtas in 2015.Within this act then there is a new provision to legislate for advanced care directives & they are also called living wills, they actually mean the same thing. The really big thing here in Ireland with the passing of this bill because it replaces a victorian era looney regulation bill going back to the early 1870s, and actually at that stage we were referring to individuals with intellectual disabilities as idiots & lunatics and unsound mind. So finally we have replaced this outdated law now with this modern human rights compliant mental capacity legislation. It is exciting times.

Your passion Katie, comes from the fact that you have worked  in the area of Palliative Care. So you are working with people in their end of life journey. So what struck you as a problem for people in that particular journey of their life, when they told their diagnosis, prognosis was not good?

That’s a really good question, and I could bring a lot in, but actually one of the things that I would say more than anything is that people are not prepared. They’re not prepared, and even about outlining our wishes and preferences are, and what gives meaning to our life. We do not plan ahead, we are alway procrastinate. For us to even let anyone know for what we want relating to our health care. This isn’t only about end of life care, it’s about our health care wishes. It is the wrong time to do an end of life care directive in an A&E department. We are very hesitate in having these conversations & discussions & reflecting around these issues and speaking to our family around them.

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