Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially reopens Blackrock Hospice after €7 million refurbishment

by Alex Greaney
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Alex Greaney

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited Blackrock Hospice last Friday, March 31st, to officially reopen the facility after a €7 million refurbishment project.

Blackrock Hospice is part of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Ireland’s largest provider of palliative care, which serves a catchment area of a million people from its bases in Harold’s Cross (1879), Blackrock (2003) and Wicklow (2020).

Having first opened in 2003, this refurbishment of Blackrock Hospice was vital to ensure that it can continue to meet the need of the community now and in the future. Many of the renovations and design features which took place during the 13 month works, were informed by significant research conducted by OLH&CS in advance of a series of recent capital investments across its sites and services.

31-3-23 Pictured at the official re-opening of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Blackrock, after a €7 million refurbishment project is from left An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD meeting dog Scout with Tina Connell, Fundraising Manger. Pic: Naoise Culhane

The renovation would not have been possible without the generosity of the public and businesses who have donated more than €5.58 million.

The catchment area for Blackrock Hospice has the oldest age profile nationally and demand for its services continues to grow. Inpatient admissions increased by 25% between 2007 and 2019, and community palliative care saw an increase of 96% patients cared for between 2007 and 2019.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said; “It is a pleasure to join patients and staff at Blackrock Hospice today, marking the official reopening of this wonderful facility. As life expectancy increases and people enjoy longer lives, palliative care, and the way it is given, is changing. I am impressed with the physical renovations carried out as part of the refurbishment works at Blackrock Hospice, and also by the way Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services continues to develop and evolve their service to care for people in their homes, and as outpatients. It’s clear that they take a holistic approach to the needs of patients, which is of great benefit to them and their families.”

The refurbishment work to Blackrock Hospice has added:

    12 renovated and extended inpatient bedrooms for specialist palliative care. Each room has been extended providing greater comfort for the patient and their loved ones and gives improved access to the gardens.  Each room leads directly to an individual patio, which is part of the Hospice garden. Patients can even access it without leaving their bed, as the doors are wide enough to fit the bed. The rooms now feature built-in window seats that convert easily to beds, which means family members can easily stay overnight with their loved ones.

31-3-23 Pictured at the official re-opening of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Blackrock, after a €7 million refurbishment project is An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD meeting patient Mary Kerrigan, from Ballsbridge, originally form Sligo. Pic: Naoise Culhane

    Modern hygiene control features such as integrated blinds, sensor taps on wash hand basins in each room and ‘White Rock‘ in the ensuites.

    Built-in control panels for lighting, TV/radio, and blinds enable patients to stay in control and independent for as long as possible. Bluetooth technology is also built into the headboard of the bed, allowing patients and their families to play music of their choice in the room.

    Staff areas have been repurposed and future-proofed to meet current and future needs – including additional electronic and computer sockets, and a clinical writing room close to the inpatient rooms.

    A new Jacuzzi therapy bath, with aromatherapy and music functions, provides patients with an opportunity for safe and relaxed bathing experience – something they might not have been able to achieve at home.

CEO of our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services, Audrey Houlihan said; “We are delighted to welcome An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to Blackrock Hospice today. This is the final part of a multi-stage capital development project for OLH&CS and he was also with us for the first stage, when we opened our new palliative care facility in Harold’s Cross in 2018. I would like to acknowledge the support of the Government, the HSE and the councillors local to Blackrock Hospice, to OLH&CS, and to also pay tribute to the ongoing generous support we receive from the public.  Our fundraising efforts are still very much continuing as we need to raise just over €660,498 towards the final costs of the project.

“This refurbishment will also enable our staff to provide the best possible care, at what can be a very difficult time in people’s lives. We are grateful for the ongoing support of our volunteers, who play such a critical role in the running of the organisation. I would also like to pay tribute to the staff of Blackrock Hospice, and especially to the project team involved who worked so hard to get the Hospice reopened as soon as possible”, she added.

Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services has a number of vacancies across its three sites. Details of vacancies and its current fundraising initiatives are available at www.olh.ie

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