Galway Hospice cared for almost 1,000 people last year

Photo Credit: Seán Lydon

Galway Hospice cared for almost people with a life-limiting illness and their families in 2020, despite the challenges of a year dominated by COVID-19.

In their 2020 Impact Statement released recently, Galway Hospice outlined how they cared for 971 patients and their families last year.

These included 896 patients who received care at home from the community palliative care team, and the Renmore in-patient unit cared for 300 patients.

Nursing staff, medical teams, social workers, and occupational therapists with the hospice performed a total of 6,366 home visits last year, and more than 4,500 therapeutic treatments were given in physiotherapy, aromatherapy, and art therapy.

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.”

Of the patients cared for in the community by the hospice team, 67% never required re-admission to hospital, a figure which increases to 89% for patients with a non-cancer diagnosis.

Of the patients who were cared for at the Renmore hospice facility, the average length of stay was 12 days, and over half of people admitted to the inpatient facility were subsequently discharged back to their home or to a community-based setting.

Minister of State and Galway TD Anne 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.”

COVID-19 had a severe impact on fundraising activities for charities around the country thanks to public health restrictions.

Fundraising activities income for the hospice fell by almost €300k, down to €1.06 million last year according to the Impact Statement, but income from donations increase by almost €40k to .

It is also surprising that the decline in fundraising was not more pronounced, given the almost complete shutdown of public events or on street gathering last year, and highlights the extent of support the public showed for virtual fundraising events,

But, as an essential healthcare service for the west of Ireland, Galway hospice fortunately benefitted from a significant boost in HSE funding last year, €8.75 million in 2020, up from €5.25 in 2019.

Speaking at the launch of the statement, 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 €2 million in fundraising income. This incredible support from the people of Galway enables Galway Hospice to care for your families, neighbours and friends.”