CANCER Care West launched its 2021 annual report recently, which showed that during that year the majority of its 8,000 consultations were conducted remotely.
The charity moved to a hybrid service model during the pandemic, and it found that once the initial challenges with technology were overcome, both patients and service providers became comfortable with the format, and the remote services were very successful and highly appreciated.
The charity’s 33-bedroom residential facility, Inis Aoibhinn, for patients undergoing radiotherapy at Galway University Hospital (GUH) also continued to run to capacity in 2021 with nearly 7,000 bed nights provided to cancer patients by the organisation.
As well as its ongoing day-to-day activity the charity also developed and delivered two key projects during 2021.
The first, named Children United in Bereavement Support (CUBS), is an eight-week online bereavement support group developed for children aged between 7-12 years, whose parent has died from cancer within the last 3-18 months.
CUBS was developed by its psychology department with expertise in working with children and their parents in both on 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 Haematology Department at GUH, evaluated a group intervention aimed at addressing the psychological and physical needs of people with a multiple myeloma diagnosis.
Based on the pilot project, which was very successful, the charity has now developed a patient support group which meets in the Galway Support Centre once every two months.
Reflecting on the year Richard Flaherty, CEO, Cancer Care West, noted “Cancer did not slow down during the pandemic and neither did we.
“Our staff worked tirelessly to ensure we continued 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 walked alongside our patients, every step of their journey, so that they were not alone, even when they were isolated. We are grateful to everyone who walked this journey with us.”
All of Cancer Care West’s 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 journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.