The Volunteer Driver Service for Children
The CAYA (Children, Adolescents and Young Adults) Volunteer Driver Service is a free transport service available to patients under the age of 18 travelling from within the counties of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow to CHI Crumlin and St Luke's Hospital for chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy treatment.
The Irish Cancer Society is hoping to expand this service to other hospitals and counties in 2024 and 2025.
How to use the Volunteer Driver Service for Children
To use the service you will need to:
- Identify yourself to a medical social worker or nurse in CHI and inform them that you would like to be referred to the service
- Contact the Volunteer Driver Service team yourself (self-referral) and inform them that you would like to be referred. They will then contact a medical social worker or nurse in CHI to process a referral application
- Identify yourself to a medical professional in the hospital (medical social worker or nurse) and inform them that you would like to access the Volunteer Driver Service for Children. The healthcare professional will discuss with you whether the service is suitable for your child's needs. The medical professional will then fill in a referral form and submit it to the Volunteer Driver Service office team who will process it.
- If the hospital refers you to the transport service, the office team will contact you about your first appointment. The office team will also arrange for a car seat to be sent directly to your address on the referral application. All clients accessing the service will need to use the approved car seats if within the age range.
If you would like to access the service but cannot contact a medical professional, please call the children’s section of the Volunteer Driver Service team on (01) 231 0522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The office team will discuss the service with you and take your details. They will then contact a medical professional in the hospital who will discuss with you whether the service is suitable for your needs. (Unfortunately, the Volunteer Driver Service is not suitable for everyone.)
- If it is suitable, the office team will fill in the necessary paperwork and contact CHI to confirm details. Once completed, the team in the office will contact you about your first appointment. They will also arrange for a car seat to be sent directly to you. All clients accessing the service will need to use the approved car seats if within the age range.
How it works
- The team will need three working days notice of all appointments to ensure we can support you fully. The team will also need Eircodes for all pick-up and destination points.
- Once we have received your first appointment time and date, we will contact our team of Volunteer Drivers to confirm availability. Although we cannot guarantee that we will find a driver for every single appointment, we do guarantee to try our best.
- Once we have a driver available for your drive, the Volunteer Driver will contact you directly a day or two before the appointment to introduce themselves and re-confirm details of the appointment. If needed, you can give them directions to your house, whether you are bringing any equipment with you, pick-up time, etc.
- On the day of the drive itself the driver will arrive at your house at the agreed pick-up time, to bring you and your child to the hospital for treatment.
- The service will transport the patient and one adult in the car.
- This service is a door-to-door service - from your door, to the hospital door, and back to your door again.
- Before you leave the car to go into the hospital, the driver will give you their contact details. About 30 minutes before you are ready to leave the hospital, you will need to contact the driver so that they can start making their way back to the hospital to collect you at the hospital door and return you to your home.
- This service is completely free to the patient and the hospital with all costs being incurred by the Irish Cancer Society. Please note that drivers are unable to accept gifts or money. All driver expenses are paid by the Society.
- After your first appointment, you will need to call or email to book transport for future appointments. Call the service booking line on (01) 231 0522 or email email@example.com. You need to contact the team at least three full working days in advance. So for a Monday drive, you will need to contact the team the previous Wednesday, as Saturday and Sunday are non-working days. We need this time to fully support you and your child.
Changes to your appointment
If the appointment schedule changes, as can happen, please let us know as soon as possible. It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to communicate all treatment or schedule changes to the Volunteer Driver Service team in the office on 01 231 0522. Please do not contact the driver directly.
We understand that this can be a difficult time for patients and their families so we will try to do our best and accommodate as many scheduled appointments as possible. Please do give us as much notice as you can.
About our drivers and the Volunteer Driver Service
- All our Volunteer Drivers undergo checks before they are able to transport patients on this service. Volunteers are interviewed, trained (boundaries, confidentiality, data protection, etc.), reference checked and Garda vetted. Drivers must commit to attending a Support & Supervision session, held annually.
- When we initially partner with a hospital, we meet hospital management to ensure that they are aware of the programme and are supportive of it. This ensures continuity of service between the Volunteer Driver Service and the hospital staff and maximum support for the patient.
- There is no hospital parking available to drivers, without cost. The service operates in hospitals on a set-down service only, so allowing the drivers 30 minutes to get back to the hospital door is necessary.
Do I have to pay for the service?
No. The service is completely free to both the patient and the hospital. The Irish Cancer Society covers all the costs. This award-winning service is paid for by the wonderful commitment of our dedicated fundraisers and supporters.
Is the Volunteer Driver Service for all types of cancer and treatment?
The Volunteer Driver Service accommodates patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy treatment and associated appointments. The service is not available to patients undergoing surgery.
Does the driver have many details about the client? Will they know the type of cancer my child has?
The driver has the information needed to do the drive – namely, the client’s name, address, contact details and next of kin. The only other information that the driver will have is whether a car seat is required.
How many clients will be in the driver's car at any one time?
There is one adult (parent / guardian) and one child (patient) in the car with the driver - no one else.
Reasons why people might need the support of the Volunteer Driver Service:
- Patients with little or no immediate family support.
- Other family members unable to take time off work to bring them to and from the hospital.
- Parents/guardians cannot drive.
- Parents/guardians do not have a car and cannot use public transport.
For more information
1800 200 700