Since the very first Hospice Nurse started work in 1983, Northern Ireland Hospice has grown to be one of Northern Ireland's leading charities, providing specialist palliative care to over 3,500 patients every year.
1983 The very first Hospice Nurse started work, providing care to patients in their own homes.
1985 Our first Hospice facility was opened at ‘Somerton House’ just off the Antrim Road in North Belfast, offering six beds for adults with terminal conditions. A further 11 beds were opened in the years that followed
2001 Northern Ireland’s first ever Children’s Hospice opened. Sitting at the foot of Cavehill in Newtownabbey, ‘Horizon House’ was designed as a 'home from home' for children with life limiting conditions and their families. The purpose built facility comprises ten bedrooms, a hydrotherapy pool, a multi-sensory room, play den, large living area and family accommodation.
2012 Eleven years later and still the only Children’s Hospice service in Northern Ireland, NI Children's Hospice recognised the need for an extension of its services. In 2012, a new children's hospice ‘Horizon West’ was opened in Killadeas in Country Fermanagh.
2013 After many years as a private residence, Somerton House became the Preparatory department for Belfast High School, before being bought by Northern Ireland Hospice in 1983.
By 2002, the condition of the building was becoming an issue and the ongoing maintenance needs forecasted clearly demonstrated that the use of Somerton House as a Hospice would be untenable. A new facility would be required in which to deliver the palliative care needs of local people.
After almost ten years of discussions, research, planning and finance applications, the decision was taken to purchase adjacent land & property and to completely rebuild a new state of the art Hospice on the old site. In 2013, Northern Ireland Hospice Adult services were relocated to a temporary facility in the grounds of Whiteabbey Hospital.
2014 On 4th April 2014, and after many months of excavation and demolition, the first brick was laid of the new Northern Ireland Adult Hospice. Two long years of fundraising, project management and negotiations ensued.
2016 Thanks to the generosity of local people, businesses and trusts and support by government, patients were admitted to the new world class, purpose built Hospice in May 2016. This move signalled a new chapter in the history of the organisation and paved the way for the future of specialist palliative care in Northern Ireland. The new facility comprises 18 single bedded en-suite patient suites with direct garden and terrace access, a complementary health wing, a Day Hospice facility and a dedicated Education and Research Centre. The site also offers dedicated conference and meeting spaces to generate income and a bespoke Café/ Bistro housed within the old school house building which was retained as a protected structure during construction.