Demand for hospice services to double in the next decade

Mary Nash, the chief executive of the Galway Hospice; Bernie Walsh, Fr Mulkerrins, Michele Coghlan and Seán Kyne, Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands at the launch of the Galway Hospice Impact Statement which includes facts, figures and insights into the operation of Galway Hospice.

Mary Nash, the chief executive of the Galway Hospice; Bernie Walsh, Fr Mulkerrins, Michele Coghlan and Seán Kyne, Government Chief Whip and Minister for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands at the launch of the Galway Hospice Impact Statement which includes facts, figures and insights into the operation of Galway Hospice.

Demand for the services provided by the Galway Hospice are expected to double in the next 10 years, which highlights the urgent need to find a new site for this much needed facility, according to its chief executive Mary Nash.

Speaking at the launch of its impact statement, which featured its annual report for 2018, she said while there were “great celebrations” when the Galway City Council granted planning permission in August for the development of a larger hospice at Merlin Park, this decision was overturned by An Bord Pleanála in February of this year.

She stated that the hospice regularly has a waiting list and this, coupled with the major anticipated increase in demand for its services in the next decade, underlines the importance of building a new hospice as soon as possible.

“We are working to identify a new site for Galway Hospice so we can make sure that in years to come, more of our family, friends, and neighbours benefit from expert specialist palliative care and end-of-life care when life comes full circle.”

The Impact Statement, which was launched by Seán Kyne, the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, indicated that 2018 was a particularly busy year for Galway Hospice, with a substantial increase in demand for its services in the city and county.

A total of 361 patients were cared for at its inpatient unit in Renmore last year, representing an increase of 12 per cent on 2017. The average length of stay was 14 days and more than 50 per cent of the patients admitted to the unit were subsequently discharged.

2018 was a busy year for the hospice’s community palliative care team, who looked after 812 people in their own homes, making 7,016 visits and 21,574 calls to these patients. Some 69 per cent of those cared for by the community team were not re-admitted to hospital (this figure increased to 90 per cent for patients with a non-cancer diagnosis ).

There is a common misconception that Galway Hospice is solely geared towards cancer patients, however in 2018, 37 per cent of patients had a non-cancer diagnosis.

In addition to inpatient and homecare, the hospice’s day care services are a lifeline for many. In 2018, there were 1,220 attendances at day care, with 71 new attendees. The service sessions provided were: 385 aromatherapy, 254 art therapy, 80 chiropody, 480 physiotherapy, 372 hairdressing, and 139 occupational therapy.

CEO Mary Nash praised the dedicated team of staff and volunteers who make the Galway Hospice’s vision of “every moment matters” a reality.

“This review is about sharing some of the work and commitment of that team from 2018. It’s a snapshot of what goes on here at Galway Hospice, what we are doing to reach more people in our community and, importantly, how we are delivering care beyond the walls of our building here in Renmore.”

She noted that the report is about “the people who matter most - the patients and families that the team at Galway Hospice has the privilege of supporting”.

No two people are the same, she said. “That is why our care is about tailoring what we do to the needs of each person as an individual. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for the specialist palliative support we provide, rather each person can access the supports that are right for them, be that physiotherapy, pastoral care, bereavement support, art therapy, complementary therapies or the many other holistic care opportunities on offer.”

She outlined that Galway Hospice was very grateful for the €4.9m it receives from the HSE annually. “However, this does not cover the cost of running the service and in 2018 we needed to raise over €2.1m to cover the deficit. We are extremely thankful to our donors and supporters who so generously give to Galway Hospice to assist with reaching our fundraising target and we ask for your continued support in 2019.”

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