Galway Hospice established on 3rd November 1986 – the fulfilment of a dream of local doctors and nurses who 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.
A voluntary steering committee was set up and intense fundraising began. It was a small team with big dreams who wanted a hospice to provide care for as many patients with life-limiting illnesses as possible, enabling them to live with dignity, in the comfort of their homes. On 1st January 1990, from small offices in Prospect Hill, Galway Hospice began providing palliative care in our local community. Starting with just two nurses in Community Care, it wasn’t long before Galway Hospice identified the need for its services, increasing to six nurses by June of 1990.
Having established the Community Palliative Care service, voluntary fundraisers set about raising funds to build a purpose-built Inpatient Unit and Day Care facility, with office space for the Community Palliative Care Team and Administrative staff in Renmore. Voluntary fundraising saw the building completed in 1995 with no state funding, however it wasn’t until late 1997, that the then Western Health Board (now HSE) agreed to fund the specialist Inpatient Unit. And on the 8th December 1997, the first Inpatient was admitted to Galway Hospice Inpatient Unit.
The Day Care unit opened in 1998, offering an environment where patients can meet people facing the same experiences. It also provides an opportunity and access to our multi-disciplinary team and enjoying the services of a hairdresser, chiropodist, aromatherapist and other therapists.
Throughout the years demand for hospice services continued to grow and fast forward to 2016, when the hospice opened an additional six single bedrooms in the Inpatient Unit, together with a new entrance to the Dublin Road.
In recent years due to continued increase demand for its services, Galway Hospice developed plans to build a larger capacity hospice in Galway City. The hospice developed plans to build a state of the art 36-bedded hospice at Merlin Park and in 2018, Galway City Council granted planning permission for the development. Unfortunately, this decision was overturned by An Bord Pleanála in early 2019.
Despite the setback faced the Board of Directors is fully committed to building the much-needed new hospice and is currently searching for an alternative site in Galway City for the proposed development.
From humble beginnings, the service has grown into the extensive consultant-led multi-disciplinary service that currently looks after over 1,000 patients per year and demand for its services continues to increase. The team are caring for more people than ever before, for longer and with a greater range of illness and complexity of needs. We go to great lengths to enable people to live as well as they can with a life-limiting illness, creating environments where families can have the space, peace and time to make positive, lasting memories.
The only criteria for admission to the service is need, Galway Hospice provides its service to its patients and their families, when and where they need it, free of charge. This is as a result of the phenomenal support of the people of Galway, who have supported the service since the beginning, raising over €40million which has been invested into care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.
We are sure those brave and visionary people who galvanised support for the hospice all those years ago would be incredibly proud to see how their efforts have blossomed into the wonderful, outstanding hospice we have today.