Galway Hospice Foundation
The Galway Hospice Foundation is a voluntary organisation. It was established in 1986 when a group of local doctors and nurses came together with a view to developing hospice services for the people of Galway city and county, as no such services existed there at the time.
Initially the Foundation researched the need for this service among Health Care professionals and, having received a positive response, set about raising the funds for the provision of a Home Care Service initially, with the aim of following with Inpatient, Day Care and support services as resources allowed.
The Home Care Service was launched in January 1990 with an initial team of one doctor, one full-time and one part-time nurse. Since then the team has grown to two doctors, ten Clinical Nurse Specialists, Social Workers and Pastoral Care. The service is available 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
While the majority of patients cared for by the Galway Hospice team express the wish to remain at home, and with the support of the Home Care Service are able to do so, there are patients who, for a variety of reasons, may not. Some patients' symptoms may be difficult to control in the community, carers may need a period of respite, and sometimes patients may not have the support systems to allow them to remain in their own homes throughout their illness.
In order to answer the needs of those particular patients, the Galway Hospice Foundation, in 1992, set about raising the capital cost of a purpose built facility incorporating In-patient, Day Care and support services. The cost which was approx. €2.6 million (a very sizeable sum at that time) was raised totally through voluntary subscriptions from the community, business, farming and professional sectors of Galway city and county and also through individual donations from far and wide.
In 1997, funding from the Western Health Board (now HSE West) was received for the running costs of the Inpatient Unit, allowing the first patients to be admitted in December of that year. Patients are admitted for either symptom control, respite, psychological support, end of life care or a combination of these. The usual length of stay is approximately two weeks, though this is reviewed on an individual basis.
At the Hospice, the multidisciplinary team includes a Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Medical Officers, Clinical Nurse Managers, Staff Nurses, Auxiliary Nurses, Pastoral Care and Social Workers. Day Care opened in 1998, with patients coming from home to meet one another in a social rather than clinical environment, and to be clinically reviewed by the multidisciplinary team. Many enjoy availing of the services of hairdresser, massage therapist, physiotherapist, reflexologist and other therapists available within the Day Care Unit.