It is hard to believe that another year has passed as we approach this special time of year once again. 2019 has been a year which has seen your Hospice embark on a significant transformation programme which will see Hospice Isle of Man leading the way in the British Isles in palliative and end of life care. This is an exciting time for us and I am so very proud of the hard work, dedication and the compassion our wonderful Hospice staff and volunteers display to help our patients, their families and carers at the most difficult of times.
Our transformation programme is called Enhancing our Healing Environment (EHE) and the transformation has been made possible by the extraordinary generosity of a single benefactor. The donation has enabled us to carry out the significant changes that were needed as a result of changes in the needs of our patients, along with changes to regulations, in one go rather than over a five-year period. As we are committed to the highest quality of care, this generosity has meant that we can minimise disruption to our patients. The EHE transformation will be completed in the early summer of 2020 and I am excited that in the New Year, I will be able to share more about the project’s progress.
I hope that 2019 will also be remembered for our hugely successful Wallabies Gone Wild campaign which stole the hearts and minds of the local community and visitors alike. The art trail will be long-remembered for its invasion of a troupe of colourful and uniquely designed wallabies taking up their homes at locations throughout the Island. The campaign received fantastic support from local schools, businesses, artists and visitors who followed the wallaby trail across the Island, raising both awareness of our work, as well as vital funds towards our £4.5 million annual running costs.
I mentioned earlier that Hospice Isle of Man is leading the way in the British Isles in palliative and end of life care. This has been made possible through a generous donation from the Dr. Scholl Foundation and earlier this year we launched our Scholl Academic and Research Centre which really is at the forefront of healthcare research, innovation and education. This important arm of Hospice Isle of Man has facilitated a number of projects and initiatives including Project ECHO. This is an innovative piece of technology enabling collaboration through tele-mentoring which we have rolled out to other care organisations such as nursing homes, across the Isle of Man. ECHO supports us to share, learn and educate by equipping other professionals and staff with the right knowledge, to provide care at the right place and at the right time.
As we approach Christmas and New Year, the work of Hospice’s Compassionate Isle of Man team will be even more poignant as they work with those in our community who are vulnerable, lonely or feel isolated. Reaching out to others not only reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, but helps meet the needs of those who wish to be cared for in a place of their choice and to stay within their communities. Whether you are a neighbour, friend, colleague or family member, we all have a part to play in helping each other and it is the ‘little things’ that can make a huge difference. From calling in for a cup of tea and a chat, to helping with shopping or a few chores, small and simple gestures can help those people stay connected to friends and their community. So I ask you to please spare a moment over this festive period to consider helping someone near you who maybe feeling lonely or isolated.
As we look ahead to 2020, I am very much looking forward to continuing to build upon the incredible work that my staff, our army of volunteers and supporters like you, have contributed to during 2019, and I sincerely extend my heart-felt thanks. I know that together, we will be able to further extend our Hospice-influenced care to our community enabling patients to live well, their way, to the end of their lives.
May I wish you and your family my very best wishes for Christmas and a prosperous New Year.