N.I. Hospice leaders to speak in New York

Prof. Max Watson, one of the world's leading experts in palliative care, is in New York this week to launch "A Matter of Life and Death: An initiative to help build a new Northern Ireland Hospice." Events this week include two lectures in New York City on Wednesday, April 27, and a breakfast event hosted by Brown Rudnick LLC at their Times Square offices on Thursday, April 28.

Northern Ireland Hospice (NIH) is a local charitable organization founded in 1981 and based in Belfast serving some of the most deprived and in the past divided communities of Northern Ireland. The charity provides care for adults with life threatening and incurable conditions, both in hospice and at home. NIH provides 30 percent of the specialist palliative care beds for adults in Northern Ireland and offers a unique service as the sole provider of children's hospice services in the region.

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At the lectures, Watson and his colleagues from the Belfast-based NIH will introduce the Palli App, the world's first palliative care phone application. The discussions will center on how interactive palliative care using phone apps and technology could be the first step towards improving the delivery of end of life care worldwide.

Watson, who created the "Palli App" and authored a number of books, including the Oxford Handbook of Palliative Care, will highlight the need for greater collaboration to make palliative care available anytime, anywhere in the world to people who need it.

"In the world today 1 in 10 people will die in severe pain, without dignity and without any quality of life," he told the Irish Echo. "Treating pain for people with cancer, HIV, degenerative conditions and other life threatening conditions is a serious issue. The Palli App is one of the first steps towards interactive palliative care, providing the latest guidelines and practices to healthcare providers from Belfast, to New York and as far as Mumbai."

Also speaking at the seminars will be Professor Judith Hill, Chief Executive of the charity, former Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland and a fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.

"Northern Ireland Hospice is a local charity in Northern Ireland caring for children, young people and adults with terminal illnesses," she said. "As one of the world leaders in education and research in palliative care it is our duty to open a gateway to share knowledge, create learning opportunities across different jurisdictions. Our visit to New York City will strengthen and build capacity for sound policy making, effective education programs and research outcomes."

The first lecture, International Dimensions of Palliative Care, will be held at Columbia University's School of Public Health, The School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118th St., Room 1512, 10 a.m.-Noon. The second lecture, Global Perspectives on Palliative Care Seminar, will be held at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller Building, 430 East 67th St., Room RRL 116, from 5 to 7 p.m. The lectures, which will take place on Wednesday, April 27, are open to the public.

Rob Walsh, Commissioner of Small Business Services for the City of New York, is among the dignitaries who will attend the breakfast event, at which the Friends of Northern Ireland Hospice group will be launched. For more information, or to join the group, visit www.friendsofnihospice.org.