Geraldine Tracey




Geraldine Tracey


Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Service, Blackrock Hospice, Dublin









Forging stronger links between the Hospice and our community


Blackrock Hospice is a satellite of the larger Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross. It is a 12 bed urban specialist palliative care (spc) unit which has been in operation for 15 years serving a population of 724,186 in south county Dublin with an aging demographic. In 2017 444 new patients were seen by our community team, carrying out a total of 4,244 home visits. Day Hospice had 929 attendances and the SPC in-patient unit received 198 admissions.

The community are frequently unaware of the role of palliative care until late in the individual illness trajectory. The reasons for this are manifold; relative ‘newness’ of the Hospice, geographical location, lack of visibility, public misconceptions of the role of hospice and societal death avoidance. A new 16 bed hospice is proposed for 2019 in an adjacent county which may impact negatively on our activity.

This project seeks to inform how Blackrock Hospice can engage and enhance community awareness of spc services. Arising from a scoping exercise of local demographics and the literature, community representatives from mainstream and underrepresented groups were invited to participate in a consultative process.

A Nominal Group Technique (NGT) was employed to facilitate problem identification, solution generation, and decision making. One question was posed ‘What can Blackrock Hospice do to improve community awareness of the services it offers?’ by the Facilitator. Each participant had opportunity to consider this and write down their thoughts. Each representative shared their suggestions and generated group discussion. The suggestions were collated by the facilitators and ranked by the participants.

The suggestions were grouped around community outreach, marketing & communication, diversity & inclusion and organisation & policy. A report was generated and presented to Senior Management. Commitment was given that the report would inform the implementation of the organisations strategic plan.