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Video Tour of the new Inpatient Palliative Care Unit at the Kerry Hospice. Video courtesy of Niall Foley.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Definition of Palliative Care:

Palliative Care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illnesses, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.


Palliative Care:

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms

  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process

  • Intends neither to hasten or postpones death

  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care

  • Offers a support system that offers to help patients live as actively as possible until death

  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in their own bereavement

  • Uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling,  if indicated.

  • Will enhance the quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and includes investigation needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.


The Specialist Palliative Care team is led by a Consultant in Palliative Medicine and includes junior doctors, specialist palliative care nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, catering staff, porters, chaplains and administration staff. In addition, this team is greatly supported by various dedicated volunteers.


The Palliative Care Team works in partnership/alongside the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who already have been caring for the patient during their illness.


The Specialist Palliative Care Team in Kerry provides care to patients at home, in hospital settings, at the Palliative Care Unit/ Suaimhneas Centre and in nursing homes.


Many of the people using the Palliative Care service have cancer. However, there are a number of non-cancer patients with life-limiting illnesses availing of the service also.


Palliative Care is available to those of any faith or none, rich or poor, young and old.




Who refers to the Specialist Palliative Care Team?


  • Family Doctor/GP

  • Hospital Consultant


How much does it cost?

The service is provided free of charge to the patient and their relatives.


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