Trinity’s Centre for Health Policy and Management and The Irish Longitudinal study on Ageing (TILDA) recently conducted a study that estimates a 84% increase of people passing from a serious illness by 2046.
TILDA collects information on all aspects of health, economic and social circumstances from people aged 50 and over in a series of data collection waves once every two years supporting one of the most comprehensive research studies of its kind both in Europe and internationally.
Their current research also indicates that the number of people who will be living with a serious disease (ie: cancer, heart disease, organ failure and dementia) and will require expert support will outnumber people in the final year of life 12:1. Meaning Ireland will have to continue to expand its palliative care sector.
Dr. Peter May, Research Assistant Professor in Health Economics at Trinity and lead author of the study, said: “Health care provision has to change to reflect those needs. We need better anticipatory and supportive care to lower avoidable hospital admissions and keep people living at home and in their communities for as long as possible.”
With the increase of lifespans in Ireland, the end of life care needs to be adapted to prepare for the growing population of patients. Professor Karen Ryan, consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Mater and St Francis Hospice, and Clinical Professor in the School of Medicine at UCD, said: “Ireland is recognised to have a high standard of palliative care provision. Our data show that capacity must increase significantly if we are to maintain that. Meaning more funding and staffing will be required in the immediate future. Sláintecare priorities include a revised national palliative care policy in 2020 and we hope that our results will inform this review, so that people dying with serious illness and their families receive the care and support they need during this unique life event.”