Home » Research » Palliative Care Research Studies » Developing an understanding of human rights challenges in palliative care

Developing an understanding of human rights challenges in palliative care

Research Project Title

Human Rights in Palliative and End-of-life Care for Health Care Professionals


Human Rights, Legislation, Equality, Autonomy, Palliative Care, Health Care Professionals


Understanding the human rights challenges associated with palliative care is important for healthcare professionals so that a person’s rights to health and autonomy are realised in practice. Care at end-of-life is a personal experience and autonomy is essential in delivering care which responds to the person’s needs.

Research Project

This project aimed to facilitate dialogue on health from a human rights and equality perspective. It built an awareness and understanding of the right to health and autonomy in palliative care and provided an evidence base to inform policy and practice. In practical terms, the project aimed to improve shared and ethical decision-making for people with palliative care needs through the development and delivery of interdisciplinary workshops at a regional level. The workshops drew on the right to health and broader rights in analysing barriers to palliative care and aimed to advance steps towards the realisation of people’s need at end-of-life.


September 2019 – December 2020

Research Project Outputs

Two half-day interdisciplinary workshops on ‘Human Rights and Palliative Care Challenges’ for health care professionals were delivered in March 2020 (Milford Care Centre Limerick) and October 2020 (Online). The workshops included legal and clinical case presentations by subject experts, Dr John Lombard, University of Limerick and Jacqui Graves, Sue Ryder UK in collaboration with the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care’s Voices4Care group (people with palliative care needs, carers, former carers and interested citizens) and the Irish Hospice Foundation. 

An eLearning module will be available on The Learning Platform (January 2021) that will include case presentations.

Research Team

Dr Mary Rabbitte and Dr Ann Leahy, All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care,
Dr John Lombard, School of Law, University of Limerick,
Jacqui Graves, Human Rights Lead, Sue Ryder UK and Deirdre Shanagher, Irish Hospice Foundation.


This research was funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission