The North West Hospice provides palliative care for patients with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, COPD, Motor Neuron disease or dementia.
It covers a wide catchment area which includes Leitrim, Sligo, South Donegal and West Cavan (a population of almost 100’000 people).
For these patients their disease has moved to a different phase where cure is not possible and the focus of care is on relieving any troublesome problems such as pain, breathlessness or sickness.
In 2011 almost 500 patients were cared for by the staff of the North West Hospice and while the majority had cancer 40% had a range of non cancer diagnosis. The hospice is made up of three separate yet equally important teams.
• The Community Team look after patients in their own homes or place of care. The team consists of seven Clinical Nurse Specialists, a doctor and a social worker who are led by the Palliative Care Consultant. They work in close communication with the patients GP and the Public Health Nurse. This service operates 7 days a week from 9am-5pm. Outside of these hours there is a Doctor on Call. People will be referred when the consultant or GP feels that a person’s illness is progressing and they need more support.
• The In Patient Unit is an 8 bed unit looked after by a Multi Disciplinary team made up of consultant doctors, nurses, physiotherapist, occupational therapists, a pharmacist and other healthcare professionals as well as the chaplains who provide spiritual support when required.
•The Hospital Team provides support to the medical teams in Sligo Regional Hospital and also have an out-patient clinic with the oncology team.
It costs approximately €2m a year to run the North West Hospice.
While they receive a grant from the Health Service Executive (HSE), they must raise €1m every year.
With the support of fantastic fundraising events like the South Leitrim 80km cycle they have managed to meet this target to date, however due to cutbacks to their funding it is getting increasingly difficult to meet the challenge.