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"Palliative care should be accessible regardless of sociocultural status or where you live."

An Irish researcher highlighted at the ICS of the University of Navarra how philanthropy has helped to develop this medical discipline in his country.

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PHOTO: Natalia Rouzaut
19/09/16 19:17 Natalia Rouzaut

"Palliative care must be accessible when needed, regardless of the patient's sociocultural status or where they live. It is a fundamental issue for social justice and inclusiveness." This is what Michael Connolly, Professor of Nursing at University College Dublin, said at the University of Navarra. The expert participated in a series of colloquiums organized by the ATLANTES Program of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra, the School of Medicine and the Navarra Society of Palliative Care (Palian). The activity is supported by partnership of the Obra Social 'La Caixa' and Fundación Bancaria Caja Navarra.

In this sense, the specialist warned that today there are still inequalities in access to these services: "People who live in a disadvantaged socioeconomic environment and have a low level of Education are less likely to apply for this care because they do not understand it".  

In his speech at the University, Professor Connolly shared some positive experiences from his country, Ireland. Among them, he highlighted the importance of philanthropy for the development of this medical discipline . "The state funds palliative care services, but many resources are also raised thanks to the generosity of citizens, who make voluntary financial contributions," he said.

Palliative care: a medical specialization program in Ireland

As he explained, Ireland is a leading country in palliative care with a model exportable to the rest of the European Union. Firstly, he stressed that palliative care has its own entity as a specialization program within medicine and that the teams are multidisciplinary. In addition, in 2010 a National Clinical Program was established that has developed criteria for action and basic rules for palliative care professionals. "Thanks to this plan," he said, "professionals have many tools for work, study and assessment".

Michael Connolly is a lecturer at University College Dublin and focuses his research on teaching, the development of competencies and ethics in palliative and end-of-life care.

He is currently conducting a project with Karen Ryan, MD, of the San Francisco Care Center and Mater Hospital (USA), with which he seeks to assess and purchase the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior of physicians working in palliative care and those practicing in other nearby areas.

Michael Connolly gave a talk at lecture in the series of colloquia 'Palliative care in three continents', organized by the School of Medicine, the ATLANTES Program of Institute for Culture and Society and the Navarra Society of Palliative Care (Palian) and held at the ICS and the high school Official Medical Association of Navarra. He spoke on 'EUROPE: Dublin, Ireland, cradle of PC in Ireland and in the world'.