The Irish Association of the Order of Malta is operating all its essential hospitaller activities throughout the entire island of Ireland in full compliance with the current emergency legislation and sanitary and social distancing directives of both the Government of Ireland and of the Northern Ireland Executive respectively. All of the Association’s Ambulance Corps’ units have been cooperating closely with the emergency response programmes in both jurisdictions.
The Association and its volunteer auxiliaries continue with their work in supporting our local communities with activities such as Care in the Community that provide care for the elderly, the vulnerable, the marginalized and the homeless. Many individual knights and dames are engaged actively in their local community initiatives in helping to alleviate the effects of the pandemic.
The pandemic has required the temporary suspension of The Knight Run operation, and the rescheduling of activities at the Share to Care facility at Lisnaskea in Northern Ireland that provides respite holidays for disadvantaged youth and their families.
Although the premises of Malta Services Drogheda (MSD) are closed temporarily, the work continues. Its staff operate a Community & Remote Support Service – this involves daily contact with service users by telephone, and if required, a personal visit by staff while observing social distance. Service users and their families continue to receive support and assistance with their personal hygiene, food, medical prescriptions etc. Day trips (walks, shopping, appointments) and meals for individual service users continue to be provided while observing social distance protocols. During Easter Weekend, cards and chocolate eggs were delivered to service users. Recently, activities such as home-baking and gardening projects in service-users’ homes have been organised by the MSD. Temperatures of all staff taken before and after duty on daily basis. MSD is one of the Irish Association’s flagship projects that is managed and operated by members of the Association, and it provides Day Services to 107 adults with disabilities and it employs 40 staff.
The Ambulance Corps’ special Covid-19 Task Force continues to monitor the evolving situation daily. It hosts conference calls in relation to daily operations and specialist training. Also, it is collaborating closely with the National Ambulance Service, Civil Defence, The Red Cross, St. John Ambulance and other voluntary para-medical humanitarian and charitable organisations.
The 60+ Ambulance Corps units nationwide continue with their work in supporting local communities, transferring patients to hospitals and to nursing homes, delivering medications, Covid-19 Testing Kits and specialist equipment to hospitals and clinics, and they are in daily communication with the National Director’s Headquarters. The units are providing ambulance support to a number of the Covid 19 Assessment Centres throughout the Dublin metropolitan region seven days a week.
All First Aid training has ceased for safety reasons in accordance with governmental requirements, however specific Covid-19 training is being provided via on-line video conferencing.
The chaplains of both the Association and the Ambulance Corps continue to encourage members and volunteer auxilliaries with their special masses and prayers, spiritual guidance and pastoral care that are provided frequently through telephone calls and social media.