The Minister for Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has decided to grant funding to establish four rooms dedicated to palliative and end-of-life care to be managed by the Health Care Institution of South Iceland, RÚV reports. The new facilities and services are expected to cost ISK 43 million a year [$313,411; €263,007].
The Health Care Institution of South Iceland (HSU) serves roughly 20,000 people in the region and operates eight health care clinics, a hospital with 62 sickbeds in Selfoss, and health care service for the prison Litla Hraun. The institution’s new palliative care team will oversee treatment for patients nearing the end of their lives and will also support nurses and doctors working at the local health clinic and nursing homes.
The establishment of palliative care facilities outside of the capital area and around the country is in accordance with the government’s 2018 – 2030 healthcare policy, which aims to provide ‘the right care in the right place.’ The idea is that rural residents should not have to travel to the capital for vital health care services, not least palliative and end-of-life care. According to a working group focused on the future of palliative care in Iceland, this will not only better serve rural patients at the end of their lives and their families, but will also ease some of the pressure currently put on the National University Hospital’s ER.