The first medical doctor to work in the Hospice was Dr. Dudley White who was appointed there in 1879 and he was followed by a distinguished body of physicians and visiting physicians. From the beginning there was an interest in being at the forefront of care. In 1961, the country’s first geriatrician, Dr. John Fleetwood was appointed to the Hospice.
As the 1950’s ended there was a change in the conditions from which patients suffered. The scourge of TB – from which so many Hospice patients had suffered -was being beaten and there was an increase in the number of patients with cancer.
Throughout the 20th century there were developments – a new laundry, the rose garden and the Hospice developed and upgraded its Palliative Care and Rheumatology Rehabilitation facilities.
By 1961 a new Rheumatology Rehabilitation Unit was provided and a new Palliative Care Unit was built in 1993. The three Centres which are at present in the Hospice – Care of Older Persons, Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Disease Unit (RMDU) and Palliative Care – were then in place. Home Care services, now identified as Community Palliative Care commenced in 1985. In 1997 the Hydrotherapy Pool was opened to enhance the Rheumatology service.
A satellite unit for specialist palliative care in Blackrock, Co. Dublin provided through the generosity of the Louis and Zelie Martin Foundation, the Blackrock Hospice took in its first patients in December 9th, 2003.
Also, in 2003, the Community Reablement Unit was opened. This provides a joint service between St. James’s Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, which is a rehabilitative service for older people, extending their independence and ability to live at home. The Community Reablement Unit is a service based on an established intermediate care model that is well developed in the UK and is the only unit of its kind in Ireland.
A purpose built Unit for Care of Older Persons, Anna Gaynor House, was built in two phases. This enabled the closure of the old Nightingale-style wards, and the unit avails of modern resources to promote and provide the highest possible standards of care, facilities and accommodation to its residents and their families.The building of the second phase, completing the 100-bed development, was completed in March 2006.
A new Education and Research Centre which was officially opened by Mary Harney TD in April 2008, comprising a 148-seat lecture theatre, 5 classrooms, and offices.
Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services continues to review the campus and its buildings to ensure that all facilities are suitable for service delivery and provide a pleasant and comfortable environment for patients, residents, their families, carers and staff.