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Midlands hospice plan for Tullamore

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Midlands hospice plan for Tullamore thumbnailLaunch of the main hospice fundraiser for the year, Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning

OFFALY Hospice has committed €500,000 towards the provision of a purpose-built hospice for the Midlands in Tullamore.
The Midlands was declared a hospice "blackspot" by Offaly Hospice chair Dr Humphrey O'Connor last week as he called on other hospice groups to row in behind a Tullamore-based headquarters for the region.
Dr O'Connor, a former consultant at Tullamore Hospital, said the Health Service Executive were "very grateful" for the commitment of funding from Offaly Hospice and it had triggered further moves to get a regional hospice project off the ground.
Offaly Hospice favour the provision of a hospice service for the Midlands from a headquarters on the grounds of Tullamore Hospital.
The project requires the backing of Laois, South Westmeath, North Westmeath and Longford hospice groups, Dr O'Connor stressed.
"It needs wholehearted support from the other four Midland groups because it is not a Tullamore only project. It's for the Midlands and beyond," said the Offaly Hospice chair.
The €500,000 from Offaly Hospice represents about half of the organisation's reserves, he revealed, speaking at the launch of the main hospice fundraiser for the year, Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning, which takes place tomorrow (Thursday, September 14).
If a hospice building is to be located in Tullamore, it will incorporate at least 16 in-patient beds, a day unit, out-patients and education rooms.
Dr O'Connor stressed that a hospice is about much more than the building itself, but about providing a "dedicated level four" unit, one which will service all the specialised needs of patients requiring palliative care.
Unlike other parts of the country, the Midlands does not have a level four hospice and Dr O'Connor noted that a new palliative care unit is being opened in Tralee this month.
"We are the blackspot and it remains so in terms of not having a dedicated level four unit," he said.
The Midlands unit would strengthen the home hospice service rather than detract from it, he added.
"Appropriately the emphasis in a rural community is on home care, on hospice palliative care delivered in the patient's home where they want to be because it's their home," he said.
"People should not be of the impression that the development of a specialised unit is going to in any way diminish the home care service."
The presence of a hospice headquarters will enhance the service because it will allow coordination of the service and its delivery throughout the community in a "seamless way".
Dr O'Connor said he has told the chairs of the other Midlands hospice groups about the Offaly financial commitment.
"You'd love to see a similar offer from the other groups," he remarked.
Increasingly, he pointed out, palliative care is being focussed on people with benign diseases and conditions such as end stage kidney disease, neurological conditions, motor neuron disease and multiple sclerosis.
The coffee morning fundraiser for Offaly Hospice was launched in the Tullamore Court Hotel last Friday by Jennifer Byrne, the Offaly woman who won this year's Rose of Tralee competition.
A medicine graduate who is now training to become a GP, she said she fully supports Offaly Hospice.
"I really understand the importance of [the hospice] and I really love to help out as much as I can," said the Ballinahown woman.

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