Northern Ireland’s only inpatient Macmillan Unit acknowledges having helped thousands of people on their milestone 10th Anniversary.
The unique Macmillan Unit based on the Antrim Area Hospital site opened its doors to the community in 2011 offering specialist palliative care support for adults with life limiting illnesses at advanced stages, such as cancer, respiratory, heart or renal conditions, motor neurone disease and dementia.
Over the past decade, the multidisciplinary Specialist Palliative Care team, alongside many amazing Macmillan volunteers have provided essential support to over thousands of patients and their families in Northern Ireland, as they cope with the many emotional and physical changes that come with a lift limiting illness.
Since 2011, the innovative unit in Antrim has provided an inpatient facility with spacious accommodation to care for 12 adult inpatients. Providing a holistic care approach, each bedroom is equipped with a pull down bed enabling family members to stay overnight with their loved one. Including a day room, access to outdoor garden areas, a quiet room for reflection, meditation or prayer and a relative’s overnight room, to help provide the best quality of life to all patients for the remainder of time they have left.
Many local families have availed of the crucial support at the Macmillan Unit, such as Christine from Maghera whose husband Hugh was cared for in in the Macmillan unit said; “Thank you so much for your dedicated care for Hugh during his last days. He was comforted so much by being in such a caring environment and it made his last days so much more bearable. He, and us as his family, appreciated everything you all did for him. He even got to share his jokes with your staff and this kept his spirits up. You all do a wonderful job with such grace and patience. Words are not enough to say thank you”
Olivia from Ballyclare whose Grandad Samuel passed away in the unit expressed her thanks to the team; “I cannot put into words how grateful I and the rest of the family are for your exceptional care and kindness given to our Granda and our family. Thank you for having such beautiful kind souls and for doing the difficult job you do. A dignified death is so important and you all made that possible for Granda.”
Margaret from Antrim who passed away in the Macmillan Unit, wife to David and aunt to Michelle, shared their experience during this time; “Words could never express the indebtedness we owe to each and every member of staff who cared for Margaret. The love, care and compassion shown was truly outstanding”
Roy Hamill, Northern Trust Divisional Director of Community Care said: “It is not only overwhelming, but very rewarding to reflect on the thousands of people in Northern Ireland who have utilised this service during the past decade. Having been present in the Macmillan Unit I have seen first-hand the dedication of staff and volunteers and I am immensely proud of all that they have achieved, it is clear they have touched the lives of many.
“It is a privilege to have the only inpatient Macmillan Unit facility in Northern Ireland on our Antrim Hospital Site. Over the past 10 years strong foundations have been built to deliver specialist palliative care services on our doorstep, and there has been a huge amount of development to date. I believe we can nurture and spread the culture of working in partnership to meet the increasing demand of palliative care services within the Northern Trust.
“The past year in particular has been the most challenging for our health and social care professionals and patients. I want to express a huge thank you to the staff for their commitment and dedication in continuing to care for patients and to support their families throughout their journey.”
Janice Preston, Head of Partnerships for Macmillan Cancer Support in Northern Ireland said, “It is a privilege to congratulate the team at the Macmillan Unit on delivering 10 years of care and comfort to patients and families in the local community. I would also like to thank the wonderful fundraisers and volunteers who have and continue to support the Unit.
“When Macmillan and the Northern Trust developed the Unit 10 years ago, we wanted to ensure that people living with cancer had dignity, support and choice at the end of their lives. We know from the kind words of patients and families over the years how much the care they have received from staff and volunteers has meant to them.
“The last year has been challenging for us all so it’s even more important that we pause and reflect on this important milestone.”
More information about the Macmillan Unit and palliative care services provided can be found on https://www.northerntrust.hscni.net/services/palliative-care/