The Galway Hospice Day Care Unit opened in October 1998, operating two days per week. This followed on from the establishment of the Inpatient Unit in December 1997. In September 2008, the Day Care Unit began operating three days per week in order to meet the increasing demands on this service.
The Day Care Unit itself was carefully planned. It has a hairdressing salon, treatment/massage room, bathroom, conservatory and kitchen. There are two minibuses available to collect patients in the mornings and afternoons. Families are also encouraged to provide transport to and from the Hospice. A team of Volunteers also assist in bringing patients to and from the Day Care Unit.
Not all patients require a 24 hour programme of nursing care, but for those whose lifestyle is affected by progressive illness, a visit to the Day Care Unit can bring enjoyment, a period of respite and improved quality of life.
All groups of cancer patients, whatever the stage of their disease, can benefit from a rehabilitative approach (Wells, 1990). As suggested by the Calman-Hine Report (1995) a Day Unit should be a relaxed, friendly and open environment.
Specialist day therapy along with other Hospice services provide an assessment in order to plan symptom control and disease management. This is followed by a positive, holistic rehabilitative individualised programme of orthodox and complimentary therapies. The purpose of this is to achieve symptom control and encourage increased patient control of their situation (NWR Document 1997).
The Day Unit provides a wide range of services through an Multidisciplinary Team. Initial assessment of potential patients is made by the Home Care Team. The service is organised around individualised care plans, shared with the patient and their family. The care plan is reviewed weekly by Hospice staff.
Consultant and other medical staff are available for clinical assessment and review. Any change in medication is made after consultation with the patient's General Practitioner.
Day Care Services:
- Symptom Control: Managing and monitoring symptoms which allows people to live at home.
- Recreation: Providing an opportunity for patients to pursue enjoyable and informal activities.
- Personal Care: Bathing, personal hygiene and hairdressing services - supporting the total needs of the patient. Chiropody service is also available.
- Complimentary Therapies: Additional therapies available include Massage, Aromatherapy, Relaxation and Reflexology provided by certified practitioners.
- Creative Therapy: Art Therapy provides creative and therapeutic support for the patient.
- Spiritual Care: Utilisation of the Hospice chapel and structured spiritual care provided by our pastoral care team.
- Counselling: The Hospice Social Workers provide a comprehensive service designed to meet the psychological and social needs of our patients.
- Physiotherapy: A physiotherapist provides this service which supports patients physically and helps to promote independence and self esteem.
Aims and Objectives of Day Care:
- To offer medical and nursing support for cancer patients living at home to supplement that given by the primary health care team.
- To support and offer respite for the carer.
- To offer physical care regarding the patients general hygiene, skin condition, bowel and bladder function, dietary needs, mobility etc., and intervene accordingly.
- To reassess the patients symptoms on a regular basis and to offer symptom and pain control where necessary.
- To liaise closely with the patients General Practitioner and Community Palliative Care Team.
- To offer psychological support to the patient and his/her relatives; to provide time to listen and converse; to address the feeling of "isolation" often felt by a patient with cancer at home, by making the patient feel a valued member of a small group. Also to help the patient establish relationships with other patients and staff.
- To act as an introduction and a link to the Inpatient Unit in order that fears can be alleviated before admission becomes necessary. Also to recognise as early as possible when admission would be of maximum benefit to the patient and carer.
- To provide an opportunity for the patient to participate in art and craft activities if he/she so wishes and to encourage the patient to develop interests and talents which he/she may not have had the time or the inclination to do prior to their illness.
- To provide a regular social occasion for the patient to attend, in a life that may have become bereft of social function.
- To provide 'routine' and the security of knowing that the Hospice is always there.
- Wells R. (1990) Rehabilitation; "Making The Most Of Time". Oncology Nursing Forum.
- Northwest Regional (NWR) Document 1997.