17% rise in cancer patients requesting Hospice support in first half of 2019

MEUSAC supports Hospice in garnering EU funds for new Sta Venera premises

Kenneth Delia, General Manager
Kenneth Delia, General Manager

Kenneth Delia, General Manager, Hospice Malta, says MEUSAC played a vital role in directing the course of action for Hospice Malta to tap into, and apply for EU funds, to help implement a large-scale project set to be completed in 2021.

Cancer treatment advances have changed the course of most cancer cases, offering patients a treatment plan aimed at curing the disease. But there are patients who require end-of-life care. As one can imagine, this would be a difficult time for these patients and their families but as Delia explains, Hospice Malta is there to provide the much-needed services and support for them.

Hearing about cancer cases has become something more common than ever. So does this mean that trends are changing?

Hospice Malta has already witnessed a 17% increase over last year in patients requesting support from Hospice (and we are still half way through the year).

Delia says that a number of factors may be contributing to this rise: it may boil down to the fact that Hospice Malta is engaging in more awareness campaigns about its services, an aging population, the population growth, among other factors.

“We don’t deal with all cancer patients or patients with other illnesses and who require palliative care as not all patients are immediately willing to accept such care or turn to us for support. But once patients do realise that Hospice can really help and give them adequate support, this is when patients become more receptive towards our services since the aim is to improve their quality of life,” Delia emphasises. Last year, some 1,200 families benefited from Hospice Malta’s services.

In a bid to meet the ever-increasing number of people who turn to Hospice, a large-scale project is planned to be completed in 2021 in Sta Venera.

“The numbers of patients and their families approaching us for assistance are on the increase and this is one of the reasons why we are looking to expand our services. Our aim is to continue providing more palliative care services of excellent quality as well as a more comprehensive approach to palliative care,” Delia says.

Hospice Malta is one of a number of NGOs that received, or are in the process of receiving, ERDF funds after MEUSAC stepped in to support such organisations in seeking and applying for the funds. Since its reactivation in 2008, organisations who have turned to MEUSAC for EU funding support benefited from a staggering €50 million plus funds.

Delia only has words of praise for MEUSAC’s support in this regard.

“If it weren’t for MEUSAC, the application process for this EU part-financed project would have been much more difficult to implement. The funds will cover a good portion of the project’s expense.

“To put it mildly, MEUSAC staff were prompt in their replies, highly accessible and operate professionally,” Delia said.

When palliative care is the only option

Currently, Hospice provides free services for both the patients and their families, including community support at the homes of patients and day therapy support services by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Services are provided to patients suffering from Cancer and Motor Neuron Disease as well as end-of-life cardiac, respiratory, renal and liver diseases. Among its services, Hospice also loans specialised equipment to patients (free of charge): from crutches to fully motorised beds to support patients within their home environment. Other services include patient transport, hydrotherapy and care assistant services. Bereavement support services are also provided on an individual basis as well as in groups.

“Our services no doubt help improve the patients’ quality of life, on a physical, psychological, social and spiritual level,” Delia, who has been with Hospice for the past six years, said.

“Ever since we contacted MEUSAC, we were constantly updated with information on funding streams until we managed to tap into the right fund, in this case ERDF.

“Our new facilities will offer a range of services. The EU funds we garnered will cover three main areas: Day therapy, outpatient clinics, and an equipment depositary. These areas will allow for day therapy as well as outpatient services to be provided to patients requiring such care and support.

“The new premises will allow Hospice Malta to offer an enhanced service with comprehensive palliative care comprising of community, outpatient and inpatient services to target the needs of the patients and their families at this most vulnerable time.” he continued.

Interested organisations seeking to acquire EU funds may contact MEUSAC on 2200 3300 or on [email protected].

Website: www.meusac.gov.mt

For information about the services of Hospice Malta, call on 2144 0085 or email [email protected]

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