CANCER Care West recently launched its 2021 annual report, which showed that during that year the majority of its 8,000 consultations were performed remotely.
The charity moved to a hybrid service model during the pandemic, and it found that once initial challenges with technology were overcome, patients and service providers became familiar with the format, and services remotely were very successful and much appreciated.
The charity’s 33-room residential facility, Inis Aoibhinn, for patients undergoing radiotherapy at University Hospital Galway (GUH) also continued to operate at full capacity in 2021 with almost 7,000 overnight stays provided to cancer patients by the organization.
In addition to its ongoing daily activity, the charity also developed and carried out two key projects in 2021.
The first, named Children United in Bereavement Support (CUBS), is an eight-week online bereavement support group developed for children aged 7 to 12, whose parent died of cancer within the past 3 to last 18 months.
CUBS was developed by its psychology department with expertise in working with children and their parents on both an individual and group basis and it has since been rolled out as a new service by the charity.
The second project, developed in collaboration with the Department of Hematology at GUH, evaluated a group intervention aimed at meeting the psychological and physical needs of people with a diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
Based on the highly successful pilot project, the charity has now developed a patient support group which meets at the Galway Support Center once every two months.
Reflecting on the year, Richard Flaherty, CEO of Cancer Care West, said: “Cancer hasn’t slowed down during the pandemic and neither have we.
“Our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that we continue to support cancer patients and their families who are particularly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“Our vision is that no one in our region should go through cancer alone. In 2021, we accompanied our patients, at every stage of their journey, so that they were not alone, even when they were isolated. We are grateful to everyone who has walked this journey with us.
All Cancer Care West services are provided free of charge. If you would like to donate to Cancer Care West, go to www.cancercarewest.ie/donate or call 091 545 000.
Owen Ryan has been a reporter for the Clare Champion since 2007, having worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.