Researchers learn from Limerick care model

Dr Kathleen McLoughlin of  the Milford Compassionate Communities Project
Dr Kathleen McLoughlin of the Milford Compassionate Communities Project

A RESEARCH project to evaluate a Limerick based volunteer led, community model of palliative care has been awarded €161,000.

Co-ordinator of Milford Care Centre’s Compassionate Communities Project in Limerick, Dr Kathleen McLoughlin, has received the Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) and the Irish Cancer Society.

The funding will enable Milford Care Centre’s Good Neighbour Partnership, a model of care and support for adults with advanced life limiting illness, to be evaluated by Maynooth University.

The Good Neighbour Partnership is an innovative model of volunteer-led, practical and social support for people living at home in their last year of life. The model enables people living with unmet social and practical needs at home to make links with people living in their community, who would like to help with activities such as shopping, collecting a prescription, lighting the fire, or sitting with a person who needs a break.

Dr McLoughlin explained, “For most people, home is the preferred place of care and death. However, people who are dying and their families can experience great isolation and can feel shut out from their communities.”

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

The Fellowship will be mentored by senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Maynooth University, Dr Sinead McGilloway and the research team includes national and international academics and practitioners who work in the field of public health, community development and palliative care.

“Evidence suggests that recognising the potential of informal support networks could help to ‘naturalise’ dying, offer better support to the person and their family and enable the choice to die at home,” said Dr Gilloway.