A special way of caring: Northern Ireland Hospice building the future of hospice care

SomHouse 04 Northern Ireland Hospice is building on a solid foundation to prepare for a future where an increasing number of patients and families in Northern Ireland will require ready access to quality palliative care.

Almost thirty years ago the local charity cared for 98 patients and their families in Somerton House, Belfast. Today the Hospice cares for over 3,000 people annually, equivalent to around a fifth of the people who die in NI each year. Hospice services are provided in the community, day hospice and in the in-patient units at the Children’s and Adult hospices.

The charity is focused on ensuring that high quality palliative care is available to all who need it regardless of where they live, regardless of their diagnosis and their place of care. From the beginning the charity has broken new ground in providing palliative care in Northern Ireland and continues to look to the future by researching and pioneering new models of care.

Plans to rebuild the adult hospice at Somerton Road in Belfast are well advanced. A capital funding package of £2.7m from the Health Minister, Edwin Poots, was a significant milestone in the charity’s efforts to secure a financing package for the new build and, with additional support from Atlantic Philanthropies, the McClay Foundation and Ulster Garden Villages, donations and pledges for the redevelopment project already total £7.4m.

The new Somerton Hospice has been designed to be a welcoming building that will provide a safe, modern and private environment where each patient and their family can be assured of the high quality care for which the Hospice is renowned.

Speaking about the rebuild of their Somerton Road facility in North Belfast, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Hospice, Professor Dame Judith Hill said: “It’s about building a legacy of hospice care today and for future generations to come – a way of caring that will help thousands of people, not only with cancer but with dementia, respiratory and other non malignant illnesses, to live well before they die. Our new hospice will be a centre of excellence for hospice care where we will also work collaboratively with other health care agencies, professionals and universities to research, educate and train others in best practice palliative care.”

These future plans are set against a backdrop of increasing demand for hospice care. Northern Ireland’s older population continues to grow, with the number of people aged 85 and over set to rise by fifty percent in 10 years (NISRA, Nov 2013). Changing demography will be accompanied by changing disease patterns, characterized by a multitude of conditions and increased fraility as people get older. Northern Ireland Hospice, drawing on almost 30 years of experience in the field, is uniquely placed to assist the healthcare sector meet these challenges.

While the charity will continue to support patients and families directly they are also committed to sharing the accumulated knowledge from almost 30 years of service to the community, by engaging and working collaboratively with others to improve the quality of palliative and end of life care across Northern Ireland.

To Buy a Brick or to find out more Tel: 028 9087 1836 W: www.nihospice.org

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