North West Hospice have opened a charity shop at Unit 2, The Market Yard.
With its two shops closed in Carrick-on-Shannon and Sligo town, along with all charity fundraising events cancelled, the North West Hospice is facing incredibly challenging times ahead in order to continue to fund services for its patients.
Though the organisation is grant aided by the HSE to deliver Specialist Palliative care services for the North West, including Leitrim, South Donegal and West Cavan, the Hospice requires an additional in excess of €1.3 million fundraising income to provide the current level of service.
“We are very grateful to the population of the North West, approximately 110,000 people have helped us to meet this challenge year on year.
“Our charity shops and community events are a critical source of income in meeting that €1.3 million figure. Covid-19 has decimated our fundraising potential. The extent will depend on how long the restrictions are in place,” said spokesperson for North West Hospice, Nuala Ginnelly.
Both charity shops, one in Carrick-on-Shannon and one in Sligo town, were closed on March 13 and all fundraising events cancelled in order to comply with the important public health restrictions to socially isolate.
The hospice’s Wine Street fundraising and administration office has been closed to public since March 16, however, staff are working remotely from home.
Much needed funds raised from events are used alongside HSE grant aid to fund Clinical Services.
“The amount we need to fundraise annually to provide our current level of service is just over €1.3 million,” said Ms Ginnelly
Along with the challenges of meeting the needs of funding essential services, the hospice is also facing challenging times in ensuring their patients are looked after socially and psychologically during the pandemic.
Ms Ginnelly said that the palliative care service aims to look after people in its care physically, socially, spiritually and psychologically, however, one of the biggest struggles while providing care to patients is facilitating patients to still interact with family members during the ongoing restriction of visitors.
“Physically for patients relatives and staff safety, and secondary to government directives, visiting has had to be limited. In order to continue to try and care for our patients socially and psychologically we have tried to be innovative, supporting and encouraging online and phone communication,” explained Ms Ginnelly.
For years the hospice had benefited from a volunteering program that provided social interaction, car lifts, complementary therapy, hairdressing, and many other services.
Now, due to the need to keep numbers entering the hospital to reduce infection risk those services and reaching element of the service has had to be suspended.
The hospice clinical staff are continuing to work in supporting families and patients during this time.
In relation to the expected surge in positive cases, Ms Ginnelly said the Hospice is working alongside GPs and hospital doctors around medication advice and advance care planning for people.
North West Hospice has eight beds which continue to be used for people needing inpatient treatment of complex symptoms that arise from a life-limiting illness and for care of other people that are nearing the end of their lives.
Ready to play their part in the national fight against Covid-19, the Hospice spokesperson said staff are aware they may need to be re deployed and re-skill to meet the needs of what is expected in treating those who are ill with the virus.
“Our health care teams in the hospital and community will also be involved in the health care of those very sick from Covid-19 in the settings. We are working collaboratively with community hospitals and nursing homes regarding planning for care of people who get Covid-19 in these settings.
“We also continue to look after our patients In these settings with life-limiting illnesses."
She added, “In order to protect these often vulnerable patients we are trying to do more over-the-phone assessments than in person assessments as we know each extra person visiting, even when following good hygiene practices can bring the increased risk of Covid-19 transmission.”
Members of the public can make a donation to the hospice at www.northwesthospice.ie.
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