AFTER many years of campaigning and fundraising a newly renovated €6m hospice was officially opened in the Curragh yesterday (Monday).
St Brigid’s Hospice is now a modern 13-bed facility with high tech tvs for skyping, a gym, hairdressers, coffee dock and dedicated transporter.
Emotion ran high among volunteers and staff who gathered for the opening of the pallitive care facility that started out as an idea back in 1987 when Teresa O’Doherty, ably assisted by Dr Rosaleen Corcoran, initiated the movement in Kildare/West Wicklow.
The first palliative care bed was opened in the Drogheda Memorial Hospital on the Curragh in 1991.
The re-opening on Monday was a welcome development that will enhance palliative care service delivery to the people of Kildare and West Wicklow. The Health Service Executive, in partnership with the Friends of St Brigid’s Hospice, have supported the development and all acknowledged that it would not have been possible without the generosity of the people and businesses of Kildare and West Wicklow.
“We really want to recognise where the money came from,” said chairperson of the Friends of St Brigid’s Hospice, Eileen Mc Donald.
“Anything that could have been done to make money was done. Men tortured themselves with waxing, heads were shaved, motorbikes were out and so much more. The fundraising carried out by the community was amazing.”
The services delivered from St Brigid’s Hospice include palliative home care services, a 13 bed in patient service and day services. This hospice affords each inpatient, garden views andlarge double doors which opens directly onto their own private terrace, allowing beds to be placed outdoors if required.
There are also communal gardens that patients and their families can enjoy. The therapeutic benefits of the gardens are beyond doubt. The work of well-known garden designer Angela Binchy provides this hospice with a sense of sanctuary.
The services include the development of a day hospice which will provide access to a multi-disciplinary team including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, dietetics and speech and language therapy.
Day services are an integral component of palliative care services providing increased capacity to assist and support patients who wish to remain in their homes. The palliative home care services also now located in St Brigid’ provide specialist nursing care to the community.
“The Friends of St Brigid’s Hospice have worked courageously to arrive at this day,” she added.
“Hospice care is so important for all the community as cancer knows no boundaries, together we have succeeded in providing a wonderful building in this unique setting for the people of Kildare and West Wicklow.
“This state-of-the-art building architecturally managed by Ronan Rose Roberts has yielded the perfect balance between patients’ clinical requirements and affording both patients and their families a soothing and comfortable environment”.
Ms McDonald, who became involved in the campaign in 1990 after the passing of her husband, said she got a little teary when the builders moved off site.
“They left the place immacuately,” she said. “I walked the building and it was exactly as I wanted, as near to home as possible.”
Welcoming the return of St Brigid’s Hospice to the Curragh Ms Ann O Shea, The Health Service Executive, Chief Officer for Dublin South, Kildare and West Wicklow said: “The re-opening of StBrigid’s Hospice offers patients a more appropriate care pathway improving the patient and families experience.
“This service will ensure a seamless care pathway across inpatient, home care and day services for patients requiring palliative care. Palliative care is a key part of our health service and itis essential that when it comes to end of life, people are treated with dignity and respect. These values must be enshrined in the quality of care which is provided to patients and their families fromSt Brigid’s Hospice.”