Galway Hospice has launched its Impact Statement for 2020. The report gives an overview of the care provided by Galway Hospice, and outlines how the charity had to adapt and respond to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister of State for Disabilities in the Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Anne Rabbitte TD, joined Keith Finnegan, Galway Hospice Chairman, and Mary Nash, Galway Hospice CEO, to launch the Impact Statement.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Rabbitte said, “Galway Hospice provides essential care to patients and families living with life-limiting conditions across Galway. The dedicated Hospice staff and volunteers have supported families in the most challenging of circumstances over the past year. I commend them for the vital work they do each and every day. They have continued to deliver care to patients when they need it most, including supporting families caring for a child with life-limiting illness and the children of adults living with a terminal diagnosis.”
The Impact Statement details how last year Galway Hospice cared for almost 1,000 patients and their families living with a life-limiting illness.
The report shares stories from patients and families, “The Hospice team of staff and volunteers show such care. During a difficult and stressful time we were held and supported by everyone in the Hospice. I value the time we spent there with you all. It was a wonderful experience, something so life affirming even in the face of an end of life. The Hospice is and always will be part of our lives now.”
2020 was a very busy and challenging year for the Community Palliative Care Team, who cared for 896 patients in their own homes. The team made 6,366 visits and 27,283 phone calls to patients. While the number of visits in 2020 was down by 20% on the previous year, the number of phone calls increased by 20%.
67% of patients cared for by the Community Team never required re-admission to hospital, a figure which increases to 89% for patients with a non-cancer diagnosis. It is a common misconception that hospice care is solely for patients with a cancer diagnosis but 43% of patients referred to the Galway Hospice Community Team had a non-cancer diagnosis.
2020 saw 300 patients cared for in the Inpatient Unit in Renmore. The average length of stay in the Inpatient Unit was 12 days. 53% of the patients admitted to the Inpatient Unit were subsequently discharged back to their home or to a community-based setting.
Speaking at the launch, Galway Hospice CEO Mary Nash, said, “The challenges faced in 2020 meant adapting our ways of working throughout the year to keep delivering care to patients when they needed it. We could not have maintained our services without our team of 155 staff, 140 volunteers, stakeholders, donors and, of course, our community coming together.
“We introduced a number of measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 and to protect our staff and patients in our care. The wearing of surgical face masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) became routine throughout the Hospice in 2020. Restricting the number of visitors to the in-patient unit was a particularly difficult decision and we sought, wherever safety permitted, to accommodate the needs of patients and family members.
“We are so very grateful for the understanding and support from everyone who came through our doors, interacted by phone or engaged with us virtually in 2020.”
The Medical Social Work and Pastoral Care teams worked to deliver bereavement services in new ways in 2020, including facilitating Online Remembrance Services for families who lost loved ones at a time when traditional social supports were impacted by Covid-19. There were 298 new referrals to the Medical Social Work team during the year, which saw a significant increase in memory and keepsake therapeutic work with children.
2020 also saw 4,228 therapeutic treatments for in-patients, including Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Aromatherapy and Art Therapy.
Speaking at the launch, Galway Hospice Chairman Keith Finnegan, said, “We were humbled by the support we received from the people of Galway and further afield throughout 2020. We couldn’t hold events in person in the same way, but our community continued to show their support online, on the phone and by post with virtual events, fundraisers and donations. Despite the challenges of 2020, we received over €2million in fundraising income. This incredible support from the people of Galway enables Galway Hospice to care for your families, neighbours and friends.”
The Galway Hospice Impact Statement 2020 is available to download from www.galwayhospice.ie/publications