Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

The Irish Cancer Society has reported a surge in demand for its night nurse service as more people than ever want to die at home because of hospital visitor restrictions.
The society said yesterday that demand for the free service, in which a qualified nurse provides overnight care for palliative patients in their own homes, surged by a fifth since the beginning of the pandemic a year ago.
Demand was particularly high in Co Kildare, which saw the number of requests for the service increase by 76pc last year, followed by a 70pc increase in Co Wicklow and a 60pc increase in Co Dublin.
Demand has continued to rise this year with more nurses needed in almost all parts of the country, the charity said, adding that the service provided 7,662 hours of care last year.
However, demand for nurses has exceeded supply and the society is now urging qualified nurses to apply for a role with the charity.
Donal Buggy, director of services delivery for the charity, said: Over the last year we have recruited more nurses than ever and some of our nurses have even postponed their retirement to help with delivering the service, but we still dont have enough.
We know that dying at home surrounded by friends and family can provide such comfort to patients, and we want to ensure that we can keep providing such a vital support for anyone who might need it.
Nurse Anna Drynan Gale said the pandemic has been especially hard on families whose loved one is receiving palliative care. But the service is invaluable for them.
With a growing number of families choosing to bring family members home to die, having a night nurse enables them to do this for loved ones who in other circumstances might have remained in hospital, she said.
Families want and need to be together, they want to be close, they want to be present. They are especially grateful for the support, expertise and professionalism that night nurses bring in what can be a very daunting and emotional time. It is such a rewarding job, and the people we support are so appreciative of what were able to do for them.
Antoinette Britton, whose husband Brian received night nursing care prior to his death in February in 2018, said the service was invaluable to their family.
Brian always said he wanted to die at home, but I was feeling very fearful and anxious about how we could make it work as we approached that stage. We were only able to do it thanks to the Irish Cancer Societys Night Nursing Service.
They made sure Brian had everything he needed in the end. It was wonderful because it meant we all had our own time and we could care for him until the end, but we also had that very necessary professional backup for things like medication, she said.
The night nurse service is always complementary to the community palliative care team or the community primary care team.
Anyone wishing to apply for the role can do so by contacting the charity at or by emailing
Irish Independent