More than 2,000 Clare people have been referred to Milford Care Centre (MCC) services in the ten years to 2013, according to Bobby Roche, chairman of the Board of MCC.
Meanwhile, in the year up to October, the specialist Inpatient Hospice services at Milford have cared for 103 people from the County, while 214 Clare people have also benefited from the expertise of the Hospice at Home teams.
Mr Roche was outlining MCC’s long association with Clare at the opening of a new Milford Care Centre Services Base in Ennis. The new services base at the Quin Road Business Park will further enhance MCC’s Hospice-at-Home services in the county, which include specialist clinical nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work and bereavement services.
A second Hospice-at-Home team operating from Milford Care Centre in Limerick cares for patients with life-limiting conditions in the Shannon to Killaloe area. The services provided by MCC in Clare are free of charge and are available to people in their own homes or nursing home.
Mr Roche said that Milford’s association with Clare started when the Little Company of Mary Sisters began to offer palliative care services at Milford Hospice in 1977.
“Clare people were among the first to benefit, and when Milford Care Centre expanded its services further in 1991, our first Clare-based nurse was appointed. The opening of this new dedicated Ennis base serving the county is further evidence of our strong commitment to the people of Clare,” Mr Roche said.
Milford Care Centre’s consultant-led multi-disciplinary teams have assisted more than 8,000 people over the past ten years, a quarter of whom were from Clare. In addition, Milford provides special inputs, in the areas of admissions, specialist expertise and education, to the Palliative Care Support bed facilities operated at four Clare community units, at Cahercalla, Ennistymon, Kilrush and Raheen.
Milford Care Centre, in partnership with the HSE, is the sole designated provider of Specialist Palliative Care services for the Mid-West Region. Speaking at the Ennis launch, the HSE Mid-West Area Manager, Bernard Gloster said: “This is a welcome step in creating a permanent base for Milford Care Centre staff already operating in County Clare. We are very proud of our association with Milford as a key partner. Palliative care services in the Mid-West are viewed by many parts of the country as the standard to be followed, and this is a direct result of our partnership.”
The formal opening of the Ennis services base was performed jointly by the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Councillor John Crowe, and Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Johnny Flynn.
Speaking of his long professional and personal experience of MCC, Mayor Flynn said on behalf of the 33,010 residents of the Ennis Municipal District, he wished to acknowledge the extraordinary work of Milford staff at the Ennis unit and throughout Clare and the Mid-West.
Councillor Flynn added: “Over the last two decades, I have had the opportunity to personally become acutely aware, at first hand, how the patient and the family feel in the care of these great staff. My late aunt, mother and father all experienced Milford’s care at three different levels, in the specialist Inpatient Unit at Milford Hospice, through the excellent Hospice at Home multidisciplinary services and also the expertise and support provided by Milford for the Palliative Care support beds at Cahercalla Community Hospital.”
Welcoming the opening of the new base, Cathaoirleach John Crowe paid tribute to the tireless and invaluable work of the many volunteers and staff attached to Milford Hospice.
“We should be mindful of the fact that such services come with a financial cost for those who operate them,” he said. “At a time when charity donations are down on previous years, I would appeal to the people of Clare to consider providing whatever assistance they can to help the wonderful staff of Milford Hospice to sustain the high quality of care on offer at its facilities.”