Karl Vella Foundation launches psychological support service for patients and carers abroad

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 December, 2022 at 1:43 pm by Andre Camilleri

Project supported by Bank of Valletta

Karl Vella Foundation (KVF) is now providing crisis intervention and psychological support to patients receiving treatment abroad, as well as to the caregivers accompanying them.

‘Because You Matter… Because We Care’ was officially launched on 15 December by KVF Co-Founder and Chairperson Claire Chircop at the KVF Centre in Attard in the presence of Miguel Borg, Chief Risk Officer at Bank of Valletta, BOV being the main sponsors.

Claire Chircop became aware of the psychological hardships that both the patient and accompanying caregivers go through while herself receiving treatment in the UK during 2021. ‘This is obviously a very stressful time for the patients who are trapped in their illness and insecurity while in a foreign country, possibly facing loss of income and loneliness if travelling alone,’ said the Ms Chircop. ‘The caregivers also go through stressful periods having to assume the responsibility of caregivers, which they are not prepared for, while having to remain positive for the patient’s sake.’

To plan for this service, Ms Chircop and KVF’s psychological support service coordinator, Mark Calleja, visited London and Sutton in November. There they had the opportunity to speak to various Maltese patients their caregivers staying in the apartments of Puttinu and also at the Franciscan Sisters’ in the UK to help identify the most required forms of psychological support and to fine tune the delivery of this new service. During their visit in the UK, a soft launch of the project was held in the presence of Mrs Mallia, the British High Commissioner of Malta’s wife, Ms Rita Ghio Medical Officer at the office of the High Commission in the UK, Ms Charlene Fenech, Manager at Treatment Abroad Unit, Mater Dei Hospital, Fr Mario Sant OFMConv, Fr Joseph Formosa OFMConv, Franciscan sisters of the Heart of Jesus, together with some patients and their caregivers.

‘Mental health professionals will schedule online sessions with both the patients and the carers to provide them with the necessary support to help them cope with these unfamiliar conditions. The professionals will also be available in the case of an unexpected crisis to assist the patients and carers in the shortest time possible. This service will be free of charge thanks to the support of Bank of Valletta and the other sponsors,’ continued Ms Chircop.

‘As a responsible citizen of the Community in which we operate, we at Bank of Valletta are indeed proud to participate in this project that provides assistance when it is most needed’ said BOV Chief Risk Officer Miguel Borg. ‘No one can predict when they might need care away from our shores and knowing that specialised support is available offers a degree of peace of mind during difficult periods of one’s life.’

Alexia Abela Vella, Suzanne Vella and Dorianne Galea spoke about their experience while in the UK, and emphasised the need of specialised psychological support that was not available during their most difficult times.

Also present during the official launch at KVF Centre were members of the Board of KVF, Fr Colin Sammut, OFMConv Provincial, KVF’s mental health professionals and some patients and caregivers together with representatives from the Treatment Abroad Unit. Representatives from AM Mangion, JF Group and Melita, who are also supporting this new service, attended the launch.

Further information about this new service can be obtained from KVF on becauseyoumatter@kvf.org.mt or on 77041569

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