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South Tipperary Hospice Movement - Celebrating 25 years serving the community

The South Tipperary Hospice Movement (STHM), launches new website to celebrate 25 years serving the community. STHM is a voluntary organisation, a registered charity, which funds a home care team. The South Tipperary Hospice Movement home care team is a consultant led multidisciplinary team that provides palliative care to patients in their homes, and district hospitals and nursing homes. The movement is run by a voluntary committee who do not receive any remuneration.

This time of year, mid-November has a particular resonance because of the feasts of All Saints and All Souls when we tend to remember departed family and friends. For the South Tipperary Hospice Movement it also has a particular resonance in remembering that the clinical work of the South Tipperary hospice movement began in November 1990 and we are therefore celebrating 25 years of service to the community of South Tipperary/West Waterford. Of course the movement did not suddenly spring into existence and require a considerable amount of very hard work and we are extremely grateful to the initial founders of this movement.

Although hospices had existed for many years in Ireland the stimulus to the present growth of the modern Hospice Movement arose in London with the recognition of a need for special facilities where patients with advanced cancer would receive expert medical and nursing care in a sympathetic environment. The ideals of this movement in Ireland took root initially in Dublin and the first such unit was opened by the Irish Sisters of Charity in Our Lady's Hospice in Harold's Cross in 1978. In 1985 the first Home Care Service in the country was established, also in Our Lady's Hospice under the Nursing Directorship of Sr Joseph Ignatius, and then around the country with the realisation that a domiciliary based movement was most applicable to our population.

Friday, April 6th, 1990 marked the official launch of the South Tipperary Hospice Movement. In her address on the occasion, the chairperson, Dr Marie Ryan-Carew described the launch as “a very special occasion for South Tipperary. It marks the beginning of a movement which has proven successful in other areas in Ireland and abroad and has enriched the lives of givers and receivers, a movement which brings peace, serenity and dignity at a very sensitive time in people's lives.”

The South Tipperary Hospice Movement, had, from the outset the enthusiastic support of all the caring agencies, family practitioners, nurses, hospitals, and clergy in the area, together with many voluntary organisations and individuals.

The Irish Cancer Society had already committed themselves to grant aiding the project by allocating funds from the proceeds of the Daffodil Day. However, a significant sum of money still remained to be raised through local fundraising and the people of South Tipperary were magnificent in their response to the appeal for funds.

The response was so good that the movement was able to recruit its first two Home Care Nurses in October of the same year and they commenced the service in November 1990. From the very start movement has been a truly community owned organisation and has grown in strength from the involvement of the community.

The nature of the work has changed over the years. Numbers built up rapidly initially when the service became appreciated and valued. Initially only patients with cancer and motor neurone disease were seen but now we have expanded to include all who require specialised palliative care. This has, of course, led to an increase in referrals. The natural history of cancer has changed over the years with increasing survival rates. For some patients cancer is a chronic disease which will not actually be their cause of death. This has enabled patients to be discharged from the service, some permanently, and some are referred again.

The home care team offices are in Mandeville House, The Quay, Clonmel. Here the consultant, registrar, nurses and occupational therapist hold the multidisciplinary team meetings and which is the permanent base for the nursing team. Administrative functions are performed by two part-time secretarial staff. Logistics and all business related activities are performed by the Manager who also acts as the contact person for the various support groups and fundraisers for the Movement. The above mentioned is performed with the invaluable and continued support of the voluntary Committee members.

For more information or to support South Tipperary Hospice Movement please visit our new website today.