Taoiseach says palliative care is changing as he meets patients in Blackrock hospice after €7m refurbishment

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it was a pleasure to join patients and staff at Blackrock Hospice today.

Eilish O Regan

As life expectancy increases and people enjoy longer lives, palliative care, and the way it is given, is changing.Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said today.

Mr Varadkar met patients when he visited Blackrock Hospice in Dublin today to officially reopen the facility after a €7m refurbishment .

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).

It first opened in 2003 and the refurbishment was vital to ensure that it can continue to meet the need of the community now and in the future.

A spokeswoman said 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.

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

“The catchment area for Blackrock Hospice has the oldest age profile nationally and demand for its services continues to grow.

“Inpatient admissions increased by 25pc between 2007 and 2019, and community palliative care saw an increase of 96pc patients cared for between 2007 (248) and 2019 (487). “

The Taoiseach who met patients 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.”

An Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Cllr Mary Hanafin added: “It is very exciting to see the completion of the refurbishment of Blackrock Hospice and the continuation of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services’ care in our community.

“This refurbishment of the 12 rooms and enhancements to outpatients’ services and the gardens will make a great difference to the patients and families who are cared for on site at the Sweetman’s Avenue facility and across the community by the Community Palliative Care Team.”

Chief executive 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.

“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