About the Galway Hospice
Galway Hospice Foundation is a voluntary organisation i.e. it was established through local voluntary effort, and continues to be managed by a Board of Directors who give their services free-of-charge (i.e. voluntary). It was established following a meeting held on 3rd November 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.
From that initial meeting, there was a groundswell of support for the development of hospice services, and a voluntary committee set about raising funds to bring hospice services into existence. The first step was to set up the legal entity of Galway Hospice Foundation, and to have it registered as a charity. Then, as soon as adequate operating funds had been raised, rooms were rented in Prospect Hill, staff were hired, and the Galway Hospice Community Palliative Care team commenced providing services on 1st January 1990. From humble beginnings, the service has grown into the extensive consultant-led multi-disciplinary service that currently looks after 600 patients per year in their own homes and in other non-acute community settings.
Having established the Community Palliative Care service, the voluntary fundraisers set about raising funds to build a specialist Hospice Inpatient Unit and Day Care Centre, with accommodation for the Community Palliative Care team, and administrative offices. With no State funding whatsoever, the building of the Galway Hospice facility at its current location in Renmore was completed in 1995. However, it was not until late 1997 that the then Western Health Board (now HSE) agreed to fund the specialist Inpatient Unit, which opened on 8th December 1997. The Day Care Centre 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 also enjoy availing of the services of hairdresser, chiropodist, aromatherapist, physiotherapist and other therapists available within the Day Care Unit.
The years since 1998 have seen many challenges to the continuing services of Galway Hospice, challenges that have all been overcome. In 2008, Galway Hospice set about becoming the first hospice in Ireland to achieve dual accreditation - CHKS accreditation and ISO 9001:2008 quality certification, which were approved in March 2010, and have been maintained since then. It is also the only hospice in Europe to have achieved the CHKS International Quality Award, not just once (in 2011) but again in 2014. In recent years, Galway Hospice has been planning to expand its inpatient services. In late 2015, the Hospice completed the addition of 6 inpatient beds in single rooms, in association with the construction of a new entrance from the Dublin Road. Longer term, Galway Hospice is planning to relocate all its services to a site which it has acquired on the grounds of Merlin Park Hospital, adjacent to the main road. This 14-acre site will enable Galway Hospice to build a future-proofed facility, which cannot be achieved on the existing 2-acre site in Renmore. This is a long-term project, with a minimum 5-year timeframe.
At the Hospice, the multidisciplinary team now includes Consultants in Palliative Medicine (one of whom is Medical Director), Medical Registrars, Medical Officers, Clinical Nurse Managers, Staff Nurses, Healthcare Assistants, Auxiliary Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Complementary Therapists and Pastoral Care. It is a consultant-led, patient-focused, staff-supported service that provides quality care to patients, and supports for the patient's family or carer.