Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has visited the Foyle Hospice in Derry to meet with staff, volunteers and people using the hospice services.
The Minister said: “I am delighted to be here to see and hear about the work of the Foyle Hospice in providing specialist palliative and end of life care.
“The Foyle Hospice provides a vital service in the north-west through its in-patient and day hospice services and its community nursing team, as well as the support it provides to those who have suffered the loss of bereavement. I am pleased to have this opportunity to express my appreciation to the staff and volunteers for their professionalism, commitment and dedication in providing quality care for those who need it.”
The Minister also heard about the work being taken forward by the Foyle Hospice through the ‘Compassionate Communities - Reach Out’ project which aims to build capacity within local communities to support people living with an advanced illness, reduce social isolation and enable people to remain living at home and connected to their local communities.
Commenting on the initiative, the Minister continued: “I have been particularly impressed by the work being taken forward through the ‘Compassionate Communities - Reach Out’ project. This is a very positive example of how by pro-actively working together and engaging with the wider community we can improve how our services are provided and importantly, support people at what will often be a very difficult and stressful time.
“Recognising the role that communities have to play as genuine partners in health and social care, and working in partnership to adopt creative and innovative ways of designing and delivering our services, is at the heart of the vision that I set out in ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026 – Delivering Together’.”
Notes to editors:
- Foyle Hospice, situated at Culmore Road in Derry, provides specialist palliative and end of life care to people in the North-west of Ireland in particular the counties of Derry, Tyrone, and east Donegal - a catchment area of some 250,000 plus inhabitants.
- The Hospice has 80 members of staff, including 35 nurses. In addition, over 450 volunteers support the Hospice staff in providing services to people living with palliative and end of life care needs and their families.
- Services include a 10 bed in-patient unit offering 24/7 care and support; a day hospice operating three days a week, a specialist community nursing team; and a 24 hour telephone advice line. Other services include ‘Healing Hearts’ – a children’s bereavement support service, and the Forget me Not bereavement support service for adults.
- ‘Compassionate Communities, Reach Out’ is a pilot project, funded by the Western Local Commissioning Group through the local Integrated Care Partnership, which promotes a public health approach to palliative care.
- The project recognises that communities have the skills and expertise to be key partners in providing palliative care. The initiative includes a network of trained compassionate neighbours who provide weekly contact with people who have become isolated as a result of illness and provide a break for those who care for them.
- The project is co-ordinated by the Foyle Hospice and involves GPs and local community organisations. The Hospice works with Hillcrest Trust and Caw/Nelson Drive Action group to deliver the project.
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