Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Cancer Relief Gibraltar for the provision of additional hospice care at home and palliative care support for terminally ill cancer patients.

The term ‘hospice care’, describes holistic, compassionate care, for people facing a life-limiting illness or injury. It involves a team-focused approach to medical and nursing care, symptom management, emotional and psychosocial support, expressly tailored to the patient's needs and wishes, whilst also supporting the patient's loved ones. This form of care aims to provide comfort to terminally ill patients, assisting them to live well within the limitations of their illness and enabling them to reach their end of life with dignity, whilst recognising and respecting their individual choices.

There are different models in the delivery of hospice care; it is commonly provided at hospitals, dedicated facilities or at home. The Gibraltar Health Authority and Cancer Relief Gibraltar, after careful consideration, have decided to deliver the care as a Hospice Outreach Service within the community setting, including patient’s homes. There are various benefits to providing hospice care at home; patients and their loved ones may feel more comfortable in a familiar environment, which also facilitates visits from relatives and friends. The Hospice Outreach Service, which will be medically led, will work together with the GHA’s Palliative Care team, nurses and allied healthcare professionals, using a multi-disciplinary partnership approach.

Mrs Marisa Desoiza, Chairwoman of the charity stated that she was: “Absolutely delighted with this exciting development in the provision care of those affected by cancer in Gibraltar.” She explained that “The Hospice Outreach Service will enable Cancer Relief Gibraltar and its partners in the GHA, to provide an enhanced and integrated community based care for those with complex cancer, palliative and hospice care needs.

Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honorable Neil F. Costa MP, added: “I would like to wholeheartedly thank Mrs Desoiza, and all those who have contributed to the development of the Hospice Outreach Service. Hospice care is provided at a time, when a person and their loved ones are potentially facing the most challenging periods in their lifetimes. Highly competent, safe and compassionate care and support, be it clinical, or emotional, delivered during such difficult times, is truly invaluable. I am convinced of the benefits of being able, whenever possible, to die at home surrounded by one’s family and loved ones. I am pleased that, following HM Government of Gibraltar’s agreement with Cancer Relief Gibraltar, we are now able to increase, in a structured and professional service, the provision of this extremely valuable care.