Page 5 - Support Magazine Winter 2017
P. 5

Message from LORRAINE COSTELLO, IKA Patient Support Officer



                                 As was the practice in 2016 many members,   I would like to thank each member of the
                                 this past year, unfortunately woke up to  team in the offices of Organ Donation and
                                 letters informing them that their medical  Transplantation Ireland (ODTI) for their help
                                 cards had been withdrawn. The withdrawal of  in 2017. Additionally, the Living Donor
                                 a medical card causes immense anxiety and  Co-ordinators, in Beaumont Hospital,
                                 distress. The appeal process is arduous and  continue to advise and guide me.
                                 requires tenacity, innovation and above all  I would also like to thank the Patient Care
                                 determination. One piece of advice I would  Co-ordinators, hospital Social Workers,
                                 impart is the importance of keeping a copy of  Nursing personnel and all those involved in
                                 all supporting relevant documentation as,  the day-to-day care of our renal patients.
                                 frequently, health offices report applications  Thanks to their vigilance, interest and
                                 have gone missing which results in the patient  support, patients' needs and concerns are
                                 having to start the process again from   brought to my attention. The IKA is pleased
                                 scratch.                                 to offer its assistance, be it practical, financial
                                    Since the IKA's foundation, the Association  or emotional support. I am not forgetting our
                                 has actively campaigned, unfortunately   IKA Branch Officers who, voluntarily, continue
                                 without success, for renal failure to be placed  to advise me of their local members' needs.
               Lorraine Costello  on the long-term illness list and, in these  They are truly the backbone of our
                                 harsh economic times it continues to be  Association.
        Whilst our economy has   unlikely for this ever to happen. However, I  Next year we will be celebrating the
        definitely improved over  continue to attempt to support each patient's  fortieth year of the establishment of our
        the last twelve months, the  appeal upon withdrawal of their medical card,  organisation. As the staff member, with the
        reality is that the majority  by writing a letter of support. May I, once  longest service in Donor House, I have
                                 again, request those for whom I have     witnessed many developments and changes
        of our families are still  advocated, in 2017, to please let me know if  down through the years. I am looking
        encountering real        your appeal was successful or not as it is  forward to meeting and renewing old
        hardship. Illness places  helpful to acquire such information.    friendships as we celebrate this momentous
        enormous pressure on        I am also frequently approached to write  occasion.
                                 supporting letters for housing applications. I  In conclusion, may I congratulate all our
        families and, particularly
                                 endeavour to convey the human side of renal  patients who were fortunate enough to
        so if the patient is the  failure in my documentation and to portray  receive a transplant in 2017 and wish them
        family’s bread earner. It is  the courage required daily by the patient  well. I also would like to encourage those
        never easy to come to    living with their illness. I derive enormous  who are still waiting for that most important
        terms with a vastly      personal satisfaction when I hear that their  call that, hopefully, it will be your turn in
        reduced income stream.   application has been successful. May I also  2018 to receive the precious 'gift of life'. Each
                                 request that those, who were awarded     year I am privileged and humbled to converse
        Hence we continue to rely
                                 housing or change of housing, let me know if  with donor families whose generosity, at a
        on the goodwill and      they have been fortunate in their application  time of great personal loss, never ceases to
        determination of our     and the timescale involved. It guides me  amaze me.
        friends and supporters to  regarding subsequent applications.        As Christmas approaches I hope and trust
        raise much needed funds     This past twelve months has seen an   that donor families are aware and confident
                                 increased demand for patient aid and the IKA  in the knowledge that their organ transplant
        so that we can commit    continues to valiantly attempt to maintain  recipients continue to remember them and
        resources to those most in  services. I would like to highlight that  thank them daily. I am conscious that these
        need.                    confidential patient aid is, as usual, available  families are greatly comforted (particularly at
                                 throughout the entire year and not simply at  Christmas time when their own personal loss
                                 Christmas time. Indeed many patients contact  of a loved one is even more difficult) to
                                 me directly.                             receive anonymously, a letter, thank you note,
                                    As in previous years, may I respectfully  Mass card or update on their recipients' lives.
                                 remind you of the various channels which can  Accordingly, may I respectfully encourage
                                 be used:-                                transplant recipients to consider sending a
                                                                          remembrance note to the ODDTI team who
                                   Contact your local Branch Officers.    will gladly send it on to the relevant donor
                                   Contact the Senior Nurse in your unit,   family. We are all mindful that for donor
                                   Patient Care Co-ordinator, or          families the harsh reality is that, sadly, there is
                                   Hospital Social Worker and of course you  an empty space at their own table.
                                   can contact me directly, Lorraine Costello,  Finally, I wish all our members and readers
                                   Donor House, 01-6205306 or             a happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy
                                   email: l.costello@ika.ie               New Year.
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