Meet the Grantees - Northern Ireland Hospice
Over the course of the coming weeks, we will profile several of the grantees who are benefitting from our Collaboration Enabling Fund. First up is Oonagh Thompson-Bradley, Project Coordinator, The Northern Ireland Hospice (NIH), to tell us more about how they are making this support work for them.
Tell me more about your organisation?
The Northern Ireland Hospice (NIH) was established in 1981 to provide specialist palliative care for patients with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and to give support to their families and carers, whether the patient is being cared for in Hospice or in the community.
Services for children, young people and their families began in 1998.
NIH’s mission is to provide a range of holistic in-patient and community specialist palliative and rehabilitative care services in an environment of learning and research, enabling individuals with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses and their families to maximise the quality of their lives.
NIH employs around 500 full time and part time staff and has over 1,000 volunteers who provide support across a range of services, i.e. in-patient unit, day hospice, shops and administrative units.
How much money did you receive from the Collaboration Enabling Fund?
An award of £50,000 was granted from the Collaboration Enabling Fund for a period of twelve months from January 2014.
What made your application stand out?
An application to the fund was submitted following discussions between senior staff of three of the partner organisations during a study visit to the United States funded by the US Consulate Belfast/International Fund for Ireland, which highlighted the need for closer cooperation between voluntary agencies to address some of the challenges facing the healthcare sector.
What action have you been able to take with this grant?
This grant has allowed us to recruit a project coordinator to administer the project and strengthen the collaboration through research and engagement with stakeholders.
By adopting an Impact Network approach, we have developed a shared understanding of the care and support available to older people with dementia, their carers and families across the partner organisations, and identified the strengths of each partner as they relate to the collaboration.
A number of gaps in service provision have also been identified, and recommendations made for addressing these gaps through the use of collective resources.
A workshop involving key staff members from across the collaboration was held in early May to agree the desired outcomes for different stakeholder groups and individual partner strengths.
How are you measuring the impact of this project?
In order to facilitate engagement with a wider group of stakeholders, including statutory agencies, we have worked with The Design Factor, a Belfast-based design consultancy, to develop an identity for the collaboration that reflects the shared philosophy of care.
The collaboration is now called 4caring Dementia Services.
With the support of Gauge NI, we have also begun the initial phase of a forecast Social Return on Investment evaluation.
This evaluation is intended to identify and value the proposed social impact of the collaboration if the project meets its desired outcomes.
Who are you working with?
We are working with the Alzheimer’s Society, Belfast Central Mission and Extra Care for Elderly People Ltd on a collaborative project exploring the ways in which we can work together to improve outcomes for older people with dementia in the community.
How have you found working in collaboration with other organisations?
Working in collaboration with the three partner organisations has thus far been productive and rewarding. Collaboration has been supported by regular meetings of the project board, or on an ad hoc basis to take action on specific activities.
A Memorandum of Understanding was developed at the outset of the project with the assistance of Collaboration NI, established guiding principles and core values for the collaboration.
Working alongside the three other partner organisations has allowed NIH to consider new ways of maximising the use of resources while minimising duplication and waste, e.g. shared dementia training for staff, pooling volunteer resources, etc.
The collaboration has also brought staff from each organisation together and provided an opportunity to learn from one another, and to share knowledge, experience and the many different perspectives involved in supporting older people with dementia and their families.
How has your organisation benefited from the Collaboration Enabling Fund?
NIH has benefited from the Collaboration Enabling Fund in a number of ways. NIH is keen to develop its services for people with dementia in Northern Ireland, and this project has supported an analysis of existing services as they relate to people with dementia, their carers and families.
This has helped to highlight what NIH is doing well for these patients and families, as well as where attention may be focused to provide the most accessible and flexible services.
Involvement in this project has also provided an awareness of what other dementia services are available throughout Belfast and Northern Ireland, and supported improved signposting to external services.