Wicklow Hospice Announces Expansion of Services

Speaking today at a meeting to update local public representatives on progress at Wicklow Hospice, Audrey Houlihan, CEO of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services (OLH&CS) announced a recent expansion of its services, enabling it to provide more care across the county.

“Since we welcomed our first in-patients at the end of 2020 during the pandemic, we have steadily continued to grow and increase the provision of specialist palliative care in Wicklow.  During 2021, 127 admissions were made to the in-patient unit in Magheramore and the specialist community palliative care team saw more than 340 individual patients, carrying out almost 3,400 interactions, either in patients’ place of residence or through ‘virtual visits’.

“During 2022, this growth is continuing and at the end of October, we had already had 160 admissions to the in-patient unit and carried 2,700 interactions with patients either in their place of residence or through ‘virtual visits’.

“To meet this increased demand I am delighted to share the news that, from this week, our specialist community palliative care service has increased from five to seven days a week.  This means that our patients, and their families, can now receive palliative care tailored to their needs and in their homeplace 365 days a year. 

“In addition, our in-patient team will provide telephone support to our community patients outside the working hours of our Community Palliative care team.  This means that our patients, and their families, can also telephone us for advice and support 24 hours a day.  This was made possible through the recruitment of a further two Clinical Nurse Specialists.

“We have also recently  added a full time Medical Social Worker to the Community Palliative Care Team, this role provides important support to patients and their loved ones at a challenging time in their lives.

“Fundraising has been seriously impacted by Covid 19 and we are all aware of the competing demands people are facing at present. However, we do urgently need to raise money to  cover the balance of the almost €3 million bank loan required to finish the building work in Magheramore, and to build on the services we’re providing,  so we are appealing for support.,” she said.

OLH&CS provided €750k over the last two years and the Government also provided €1.6m.   The outstanding balance is on the bank loan is €840,000 

“Once the capital loan is paid off, fundraised income will be critical to pay for enhancements that are so greatly valued by patients and families such as specialised equipment and improvements and developments to our facilities, our grounds and gardens.  We could not provide this service without the support of the local community and their support enables us, in turn, to help those who need our care,” she explained.

The Hospice’s Annual Light Up A Life Christmas campaign is underway, a special remembrance campaign, inviting people to remember loved ones by sponsoring a light on our virtual tree in their memory. This is the 30th year of the event and OLH&CS is appealing to the public to support it by sponsoring a light,  or by buying Christmas cards or decorations. For more information see www.lightupalife.ie or www.olh.ie

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