Established over 140 years ago in 1879, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services is a 200-bed facility that provides specialist care for those with a wide range of needs from rehabilitation to end-of-life care. Just over 600 staff and 330 volunteers work with residents, patients and their families at a most difficult time in their lives. Their focus is to improve and enhance quality of life and to enable their patients to live as independently as possible with comfort, dignity and peace of mind. Care is provided both on-site in Harold’s Cross and Blackrock Hospices as well as in people’s own homes. In 2019, care was provided to over 4,000 patients and their families and their team also provided over 11,000 specialist palliative homecare visits to patients in their own homes.
Earlier this year, Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services welcomed a third hospice site to the family and on the 24th January 2020, Wicklow Hospice was officially opened. This new state-of-the-art 15 bed unit will be the first specialist palliative care facility in the county.
Located in Magheramore on a 3.5 acre site kindly donated by the Columban sisters, Wicklow Hospice is a section 38 facility with responsibility delegated to Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services by the HSE, who will meet the operational costs of the facility and fundraising for capital costs and enhancements for patients and families will be driven by Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services.
Wicklow Hospice’s 15 in-patient public beds and specialist Community Palliative Care team will provide care for patients and families across the county (excluding West Wicklow, which comes under St. Brigid’s Hospice in Kildare) when it opens to patients from mid-summer this year.
Chief Executive of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services Audrey Houlihan said at the official opening; “This is an important milestone for the people of Wicklow and another positive step for palliative care in Ireland. This development will transform patients and families’ quality of life and meet the changing care needs of this and future generations in the local community. Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services celebrated its 140th anniversary last year and is delighted to welcome Wicklow Hospice to its family, alongside Harold’s Cross Hospice and Blackrock Hospice.”
Chair of Wicklow Hospice Foundation, Sean Dorgan said; “This is a truly wonderful achievement by the people of Wicklow. We are humbled by the efforts of groups and individuals from around the county who have come together to realise this dream to construct a state-of-the-art specialist palliative care facility for the people of the county. Fundraising will be ongoing to meet the building costs and for enhancements to patient care in the future. We are confident that Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, one of the oldest and largest specialist palliative care providers in the country, will provide an excellent service meeting the needs of the people in Wicklow,” he said.
Paying tribute to the commitment and dedication of all involved Minister Simon Harris thanked everyone involved in the Wicklow Hospice project for their dedication.
“It is a real pleasure to be here today celebrating this opening of wonderful facility. The commitment of the people of Wicklow to this Hospice has been immense. By its nature, palliative care is rooted in the community and what you achieved is remarkable. The Hospice will support the people of Wicklow during difficult times and work with patients and their families to celebrate life and ensure their dignity and comfort. Not only is this purpose-built facility a wonderful asset to our community but it is an excellent example of people working together and I thank and congratulate you most sincerely for your efforts,” he said.