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My name is Dr Paul McIvor and I am Medical Director at Foyle Hospice. I am asking you for your help.
The summer is a time for people to get together with family and friends and at Foyle Hospice it is traditionally a time to raise essential funds through fundraising events throughout the community. This is a particularly important year for us as we celebrate thirty-five years since the inception of the community specialist palliative care services. With our five shops temporarily closed or running at reduced hours and an array of major fundraising activities called off, we find ourselves in a very different situation.
Our staff and volunteers continue to strive to provide compassion, care and support. Along with our patients and their families, we are required to comply with regulations and guidelines which provide unprecedented challenges to the delivery of hospice and palliative care. The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly changed how we are living and dying.
If we are going to make it through this crisis, we will need your help. I hope that you will rally around once more to support your local hospice as we launch this emergency appeal. I do remain hopeful, but we have already had to adjust some of our services such as temporarily closing Day Hospice and furloughing some staff, and our much-needed planned expansion of services is at risk of being shelved as donations have plummeted during the coronavirus crisis.
Foyle Hospice costs approximately £3.3 million a year to run, with around £2.2 million coming from generous charitable donations and it is likely the shortfall by the end of the year will be significant. Times like this really underline the fact that we need Foyle Hospice and that the hospice needs your continued support.
This is the reason I am asking for your help today when it is most needed. Please consider donating online at www.foylehospice.com or by post in the envelope provided.Our prudent approach to funding and concerted effort to keep costs low give us a solid base, but we don’t know how long the impact of Covid-19 will last. It is obviously going to be much longer than a few months and will undoubtedly take its toll on our running costs for this year.
When mum of 4, Roseanne Ferguson was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness she and her family were not prepared for the journey that lay ahead. It was a privilege to sit down with her husband John as he shared their experience at Foyle Hospice.
John said: “Unfortunately, until you are in Foyle Hospice and have to use it you don’t know what happens inside the buildings. It is amazing and personal. Roseanne has taken part in Day Hospice and their Integrated Clinic and has also stayed in their In-patient unit. The thing that I first noticed when Dr Aine Abbott sat down with us was that after we spoke about Roseanne, she asked me how the family was doing and how I was coping. It was support for the entire family, something I had not experienced before.
Roseanne was quite poorly and found herself needing to go into A and E. We called Foyle Hospice to let them know and they said that they had a bed for her. It was such a different experience. The staff met us at the door, we did not have to wait in a room to be seen to, they escorted us in. The whole approach was different, it was based on knowing us and friendship not just clinical.
Before we came to Hospice, I would spend 45 minutes a week sorting my wife’s medication. I would be counting pills, separating them by days and times and if I miscounted, I would have to start over. The nurses saw this and recommended that we have them delivered in packs sorted for the week. Now we know that her medication is delivered every Tuesday and I don’t have to worry about sorting them into the correct day and time, it is all done for us.
Last June, Roseanne went through a terrible time and we thought we might lose her. We sent for the family and my son Dan flew home she was so ill. I know that it is because of the time that she spent in Foyle Hospice that we were able to go home and Dan was able to leave.
When she stays at Foyle Hospice it is home away from home. Roseanne does not like being away from home but we know that our dog can visit her in hospice and the incredible view of the river is just so peaceful. Our experience has always been uplifting and we were surprised to learn that most people who go into the hospice are able to go home again.
We went from despair to making plans. Something we never thought we would do.
Now with Covid-19 we have had to face other challenges. Roseanne loves to go out for meals with friends and family or go to the shops and that has all stopped. She was also getting blood transfusions at the hospital and due to new regulations, it was becoming very difficult. Our doctor called the Hospice and they offered to give them to her at their clinic in the Day Hospice. It has been fantastic, as I can drop her off for several hours and I know that she is comfortable and well taken care of.
Foyle Hospice is there to give you a quality of life and to help people cope with their illnesses. It has been a year since Roseanne was first so poorly in the hospice and we know that anytime we have any issues we can talk to the doctors and nurses. Without the Foyle Hospice I don’t know where we would be.”