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Young Kildare woman Sandra Kelly is the picture of self-confidence. But behind her good looks and bright smile, she bears all the mental scars of life with a stutter.
Getting the flu jab is even more important this year as we desperately need to shield our hospitals and help reduce the burden on our health service. Vaccination of healthcare workers has been shown to reduce flu-related deaths by up to 40%.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early March, former nurse Helen Behan knew that she couldn’t sit back and watch. Instead, she joined the thousands of people who returned to the health service to help cope with the virus. The thing that sets the Co Meath woman apart from her colleagues was the fact that during her stint working in the COVID-19 Assessment Unit in Drogheda, she found out that she had been nominated for a best supporting actress gong at both the British Academy Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) and an Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA).
Martin Smith, the ‘flu champion’ at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, was full of praise for the efforts of his colleagues, nearly 92% of whom opted to get the vaccine last winter, earning the hospital a national award.
Fifteen-year-old Glyn O’Connor walked back through the doors of his secondary school in Waterford on September 29th, a few weeks after his classmates. But it was a delayed trip that his family thought he would never get to make just three months earlier.
Roisin, a HSE public health nurse, hosts an online breastfeeding group in Dun Laoghaire. The virtual group began several weeks ago when Roisin returned to her post following redeployment to a COVID-related role.
Shauna Strutt volunteered to be a Quit leader to encourage her HSE colleagues to kick the habit with her back in March as part of the 28-day Quit challenge
A project that cut waiting times for patients from up to four years to less than 12 weeks took home the prize in the ‘Improving Patient Care’ category in the recent Health Service Excellence Awards. The Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) Gynaecology Waiting List initiative was designed to tackle the highest gynaecology outpatient waiting list in Ireland in the short term and work towards a sustainable model of service delivery and patient care in the medium term.
Cooking and eating together in an initiative facilitated by the HSE has helped a group of men on Cork’s Northside to promote better mental health and wellbeing. Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention Martin Ryan ran 10 weeks of cooking classes late last year with a group of men through the local Northside Community Health Initiative (NICHE). The classes were so successful that the group published a cookbook featuring some of their favourite recipes. The proceeds will fund a further set of classes.
Residents of a community nursing unit have been empowered to lead their own care in an environment where they can feel at home thanks to an award-winning initiative.
Three HSE Mental Health Service Training Centres across Co Roscommon came to the rescue to modify unsuitable PPE so it could be used in the frontline battle against COVID-19.
The Parent Education Department at University Hospital Galway have re-designed their services to meet the needs of mothers and their families in recent months.
A new booklet for colleagues recovering from COVID-19 is helping staff of St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park returning to work and encouraging camaraderie among frontline workers.
Over 6,000 children attended the CHO Dublin North City and County (DNCC) immunisation hub at the National Show Centre in Swords, Co Dublin this July.
Hospital appointments and procedures are now being resumed and to reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus, hospitals have developed new ways of working.
HSE Dublin South, Kildare & West Wicklow & HSE Cork North/South Lee Community Healthcare in conjunction with the Irish Society for Chartered Physiotherapists have produced a “Let’s Get Moving Again” information booklet with eight daily exercises to encourage people to become active again after cocooning during COVID-19’.
The HSE’s Mental Health Engagement and Recovery Team partnered with Mental Health Ireland and community partners to host a successful online event to celebrate and promote family recovery on the UN’s International Day of Families, Friday 15th May
The introduction of a video facility that allows parents of babies in the Neonatal Unit at University Hospital Galway to see regular images and videos of their new arrival has been a huge success.
A virtual visitation platform is providing comfort to parents of babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) with video messages and regular updates sent to them directly.
Children in Dublin have been able to resume vital speech and language therapy in a fun and interactive new way.
The family of an 82-year-old Dubliner who returned home having survived COVID-19 paid tribute to the staff of Beaumont Hospital who treated him, saying they ‘weren’t just frontline staff, they were lifeline staff’. John Lonergan from Portmarnock tested positive for COVID-19 after becoming very unwell on March 26th and taken to Beaumont Hospital by ambulance. Discharged after five days, his condition declined rapidly and he was readmitted on April 6th.
Staff at Gorey District Hospital have expressed their thanks to the people of Gorey and surrounding community in North Wexford for their support over the last three months.
Pat McCreanor answered Ireland’s call back in March and now heads up the COVID room in the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).
The benefits of video technology have been really evident in recent weeks right across the country. The introduction of ‘Attend Anywhere’ a safe, simple video conferencing tool in various settings has allowed health professionals to continue to see patients virtually for a video call consultation during Covid 19. The HSE is in the process of rolling out various video conferencing tools, including Attend Anywhere, nationally across the country. Some 10,000 ‘Attend Anywhere’ video consultations have taken place across the country over recent months. In CHO 1 Attend Anywhere is currently available in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan and services being delivered range from Community Physiotherapy, Respiratory Integrated Care, Diabetes Services, Mental Health Services, Psychology, Audiology to Dietetics. According to Wendy Rutherford, Implementation Lead for Donegal, "It has been a very exciting, challenging and rewarding experience supporting the National Virtual Health Team roll out Attend Anywhere. The gains for service providers and service users are considerable as we are enabling effective communication and care provision through the medium of eHealth whilst under pandemic restrictions.”
Drawings, paintings, cards and letters sent in from local primary and secondary school children helped reduce patient isolation and loneliness among patients at St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown during COVID-19. The Speech and Language Therapy Department came up with the initiative with the hope that a thoughtful card or letter could lift spirits and offer a connection with children and students in the community.
THE COVID-19 pandemic has seen attendances at Emergency Departments around the country drop significantly but the public are being urged not to ignore injuries that need hospital attention. Injury Units around the country are proving their worth as reliable and safe care providers for patients with minor injuries sustained at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Greg Ashe, from Co Limerick, was grateful to be able to attend St John’s Injury Unit for treatment when he injured himself at home, and it’s a decision he feels may have accelerated his recovery.
In-patient palliative care patients have possibly felt the COVID-19 restrictions harder than most but therapists in St Brigid’s Hospice in Kildare have gone out of their way to make sure they remain connected to their families. While visiting restrictions were a necessity, patients reported missing family and friends and finding it ‘dreadful’ to not be able to stay connected. Staff too were distressed by not being able to support patients and their family in the usual manner, which is central to the holistic nature of palliative care. Senior Occupational Therapist Dervla Kennedy and Senior Speech and Language Therapist Candice Kelly noted the impact this was having on patients’ health and well-being and set about doing something to make sure that vital social interaction was restarted despite the pandemic. Tablets were kindly purchased by The Friends of St Brigid’s, and video calls and emails were facilitated between patients and their families and friends.
Tallaght Hospital has been providing psychological ‘first aid’ for its staff as the COVID-19 crisis continued to take a toll on frontline health service workers. When the outbreak began to escalate in China in the winter, psychologists in TUH started to research the learnings from the Ebola outbreak and the Sars outbreak as they understood the psychological footprint of COVID-19 would be large. Their psychology team gathered resources to help everyone cope with what was about to happen. The pandemic has had a major impact on everyone but on healthcare staff in particular. They need to be supported to maintain their psychological wellbeing
Niall Horan generously pledged €100,000 specifically to provide mobile devices (tablets) for use by older people and staff in public long term residential care so residents can stay in touch with their families. Niall was inspired to do so when his cousins Patricia and Caroline sent him a photo of them talking on the phone to their granny outside her window and then decided to teach her how to use FaceTime. Seeing the positive impact it’s had on his granny inspired him to do the same for other older people. In this video, Geraldine Aspinall, Assistant Director at St. Ita’s Hospital, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick describes the enormous benefit the donation has meant for staff and residents during the pandemic.
“We all know how important social distancing is at present. However, for someone with mental health needs and individuals with dementia, our aim is to make this distancing merely a physical one,” said Regina Lafferty, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Dementia. “The truth is that for those who are cocooning, the days can be long and lonely.” In ‘normal’ circumstances mental health service users needs are supported by various community and hospital based services such as Day Care Centres, social groups, Men’s Sheds, community mental health teams and many others. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic many service users and their families are unable to access the community based services. Staff in Mental Health Services for Older Persons in HSE North Dublin were extremely mindful of this and in response developed a programme called ‘Golden Moments’ to provide a structured alternative in supporting individuals with dementia in their homes. And it worked well. ‘Golden Moments’ has been an overwhelming success and service users and family members have let us know by text, emails, voicemail and cards.
Going for a Covid-19 test can be daunting, especially for children, as Speech and Language Therapists in Dublin North City and County noticed when working frontline at the community testing centre at Croke Park. Sinéad Finn, Speech and Language Therapist in Dublin North City and County, explained, “We wanted to help children who were worried when coming for testing and thought a visual story would be useful. We discussed this at our daily debrief and were delighted to be supported and encouraged by Maria Flaherty, our Clinical Lead at the Testing Centre.
A hug or even the sight of a loved one at your bedside can help patients to get through tough times in hospitals. It’s the lack of this close contact that has been hardest on patients and families during the COVID-19 crisis. But UL Hospitals Group has been facilitating virtual hospital visits to help keep families in touch during the public health emergency.
Mary Walshe was in Thailand in January when she first heard of Coronavirus. She never anticipated that within three months she would be back in Ireland, setting up country’s first self isolation facility in Citywest – the well known Dublin hotel and conference facility Having retired early (from position of Chief Officer Dublin North) on April 1st last year, Mary did so “in order to spend some quality time with family and to travel because that’s one of my loves. I hadn’t been in a position to do it for a while so when I set off, I ended up spending most of last year travelling.
The commitment, energy, creativity of those working in healthcare settings in addressing the COVID 19 challenge right across the country continues to be on display over the past week with ample illustrations visible through social media. From virtual visits for parents who can now see and observe their babies in the neonatal unit in CUH, to the drive through warfarin clinic in Tallaght University Hospital to the success story of Paddy Joe Lynch who at 82 wanted to share his story of having been discharged from Sligo University Hospital after being treated for COVID 19, these tweets give a snapshot of a committed, caring workforce.
The sound of singing and laughter has been heard ringing through one Leitrim day hospital as many of its elderly patients got to showcase their talents through the Music in Mind Initiative. Music in Mind is a collaboration between the National Concert Hall and Mental Health Ireland.
A transitional care unit for the elderly has been leading the way in medication information, ensuring all patients are discharged with a full list of their medicines and their uses. Staff in the Cottage Hospital in Drogheda introduced the medication reconciliation checklist in 2018 in response to the World Health Organization Global Patient Safety Challenge, Medication Without Harm, and the HSE’s Know Check Ask campaign.
Regional Hospital Mullingar (RHM) has become one of the first hospitals in Ireland to have a specially-designed Sensory Room for children with autism. The aim of the new Sensory Room is to improve the experience for patients attending the ED with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorders. It will also help medical professionals in treating these patients.
Having a loved one spend time in hospital can be extremely difficult but two projects are making life a little easier for patients and their family members in the west. In University Hospital Galway (UHG), Croí, the heart and stroke charity, recently funded the furnishing and redesign of a new family room for the Coronary Care Unit, while Sligo University Hospital (SUH) was delighted to introduce 21 new buddy beds to the Paediatric Department.
On 5 January 2019, the Woodlands Unit opened its doors to patients. An innovative residential service for older patients who no longer require acute care but for whom a return home or to a non-acute setting may take some time to arrange. A year on, some of the team at Connolly Hospital reflect on the task of getting the unit opened on time. Woodlands Unit was developed to address the challenge of ensuring older patients are cared for in the most appropriate health care setting. The service demonstrates Sláintecare in action, helping us to deliver the right care in the right place at the right time
The death of their beloved daughter prompted one Co Kerry family to ensure that life was made a little easier for other sick children. Tony and Mary Heffernan set up the Saoirse Foundation, named after their daughter who sadly lost her life in 2011 at the family home at the tender age of five. Saoirse had the rare and always fatal neurological condition, Batten Disease. The foundation owns and operates BUMBLEance, the world’s first fully interactive Children’s Ambulance Service. It launched its latest vehicle at the Children’s Hospital Ireland’s (CHI) new paediatric Urgent Care Centre at Connolly Hospital, Dublin.
They come from all walks of life, young and old and from many different communities around Kerry but together they all share a common bond in that they are all stroke survivors. With the wonderful help of the Stroke Day Service, they are getting their lives back together one step at a time. The Stroke Day Service at Baile Mhuire has been ongoing for over a year now providing nursing and physiotherapy support to people recovering from a stroke. This one day a week service delivers a 10-week programme to support people after a stroke.
Two years after the launch of the HSE Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Model, women across the country have spoken about the transformative effects the perinatal mental health services have had on their pregnancies and beyond. Perinatal mental health disorders are those which complicate pregnancy and the first postnatal year. They include both new-onset and relapse or reoccurrence of pre-existing disorders. Their unique aspect is their potential to affect the relationship between mother, child, and family unit. In developing the model of care the HSE were very much focused on the needs of women, infants and their families.
A drone has begun delivering life-saving diabetes care to the remote Aran Islands. Professor Derek O’Keeffe, Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospitals and Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway, was the project lead for the world’s first autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drone delivery of diabetes prescription medications (insulin, glucagon) and collection of a patient blood sample between Connemara Airport and Inis Mór, Aran Islands.
There’s nothing like the company of children to keep you young. It was with that in mind that the Blossom Together program began to take roots in a community hospital in Co Leitrim. The intergenerational project came about following observations of the joy that visiting children brought to the residents, many suffering with dementia.
Helen Twomey has cerebral palsy and has severe mobility issues. But now she has a new best friend who has changed all that – Alexa!
Paul Reid, CEO and the HSE Executive Management Team reflect on the commitment and dedication of our staff and wish everyone in every part of the country and service a Happy and Peaceful Christmas
From the humble beginnings of the creation of a coffee shop, staff, residents and the broader community are transforming Ennistymon Community Nursing Unit into a community hub featuring a Memory Lane that houses a coffee shop, vintage boutique shop, Post Office, Town Hall Cinema, Hair and Nail Bar, Men’s Shed and plant nursery. They have also involved local primary school children in an intergenerational project that allows the children to “buddy-up” with residents.
A determined and dedicated team of midwives and their colleagues in Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) have transformed the birthing suite rooms and the experiences of the expectant mums using them.
An area of waste ground at the rear of a day centre for people with severe mental health issues has been transformed into a beautiful garden – and all with the help of the service users themselves. The new garden at Abbeyview Day Centre in Castledermot, Co Kildare was officially unveiled recently to the delight of everyone involved.
Mayo has developed the country’s first online information resource for young people whose parents experience mental health distress. The WITH project (Wellbeing In The Home), a young person’s guide to parental mental health, was launched in Castlebar recently. It is a collaborative project between Mayo Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Community Healthcare West; Mindspace Mayo; young people representing Mindspace and Comhairle na nÓg and young people who have used the CAMHS service.
The Home First Team is a specialist team supporting patients over the age of 75 who are treated in the Emergency Department and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit in the hospital.
University Maternity Hospital Limerick’s (UMHL) Early Transfer Home Service is designed for well mothers who have a healthy full term baby, who live within a defined catchment area and who want to return home early to receive postnatal care at home with the community midwifery team. Beautiful Cadence, daughter of Kelly and partner Alan Fitzgerald, born on October 10th, was the first baby home as part of this new service.
Patients of the Pain Clinic in Sligo University Hospital (SUH) can speak with their doctor from the comfort of their own home. The new ‘Attend Anywhere’ Pain Clinic allows patients and doctors at the hospital to connect online using a secure platform to discuss their condition just as if they were attending the hospital for their appointment.
A nurse-led initiative has been helping to eliminate lengthy delays for many patients waiting on medical assessment and treatment at the Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU) in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
Dementia can take away so much from a person but a new initiative at a community care home in Galway has given their residents back their own ‘life story’. Life Story books were created for each person with dementia living in the Creagh Suite in St Brigid’s Hospital, Ballinasloe, to discover more about them, their lives, likes and dislikes, relationships and interests. It has promoted greater empathy and understanding between them and the staff that care for them.
A Roscommon based knitting group has been helping to improve the lives of clients of mental health services and has been very successful in its inclusive approach and its fund raising efforts.
Music Therapist Catherine Sweeney Brown has taken up a one year residence in University Hospital Waterford with her audience and benefactors the babies in the Neonatal and Special Care Baby Unit.
A simple telephone service has been helping keep patients with lung disease out of hospital and able to manage their symptoms at home. The initiative involving nurse specialists creates a virtual clinic that means less trips to hospital for patients and a more efficient way of managing their conditions
Midwives, doctors, physios, dieticians and new parents ( joined by their babies) recently came together for the first ever Whose Shoes event at University Hospital Galway (UHG). Its aim is to help improve women’s experience of maternity care by building on local relationships and enhancing existing relationships within the services.
Baby Senan Fraser, born at 25 weeks got his first vaccinations in Rotunda where staff have an 80% uptake rate – double protection for a premature baby
North West Home Sharing Programme brings both respite and friendship – hosts, guests and families speak of the bond of friendship that forms when families open their homes to individuals with disabilities, providing respite but also enriching the lives of the hosts and their families
Crumlin Hospital teamed up with Disney Ireland and BBDO Dublin to use Toy Story and other Disney characters to de-traumatise the X-ray process. They placed X-ray images of the characters on the walls of the hospital’s department and it has been a great success with the children
Golden Retriever Cody is the latest recruit to Portiuncula University Hospital, bringing pet therapy to patients and cheering both staff and patients
Galway based paramedic Eamonn Baxter, having saved the life of baby Jonah Murphy who went into cardiac arrest at seven weeks, returned, four years later, to present him with a very special Six Star Marathon Medal after he completed the unique challenge of six marathons
The team in St Brendan’s Care Home, Loughrea, Co Galway trial an unusual technological support for people with dementia. Mario the Robot was introduced as a guest and proved a positive addition, entertaining, supporting and interacting with clients
Just weeks after his wife Mairead encouraged Paul to do a CPR class, he ended up using those skills to save her life
A surprise diagnosis and a feeling of being overwhelmed led to two Kildare mums penning a wonderful new book to help families of children born with Cystic Fibrosis.
HSE primary care dental staff now have access to fully digitised dental treatment records for all of their patients following the completion of a nationwide rollout of the HSE National Dental Record and Information System. The system is now live in 221 locations in 26 counties.
Distractions from visitors and medical staff during meals can have a massive effect on a patient’s nutrition during a hospital stay. The goal of a new initiative in Sligo University Hospital is to review ward environment during mealtimes.
Pat has only one regret when she looks around her sister Sheila’s beautiful home – that her move there didn’t happen sooner. Sheila has Down Syndrome and recently moved to Killinthomas Lodge following a diagnosis of dementia.
A unique nursing role in the Beaumont Hospital is tackling the chronic problem of alcohol related hospital admissions.
Play is more than playgrounds and it is not just for young children. An urban regeneration project in Tralee is making that their mantra as they rethink the idea of play and its role in developing social wellbeing.
A free, simple home bowel screening test saved the life of Co Cork father-of-four Bernard Wallace and he is now urging people to take part in the programme. April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
As a paramedic Jason McKenna is used to being a lifesaver but he’s also the recipient of a lifesaving kidney.
An innovative parenting programme has been helping parents and children create calmer and happier households across the Midlands for nearly a decade.
Ard Chúram Day Care Centre provides a lifeline for older people in North Kerry
“From the general manager to the staff in the cafeteria, we must get the flu vaccine. We come into contact with so many people – high-risk people, pregnant women and old people. They need us to be on our best game”
An ICU nurse had to use all her 20 years of experience when she awoke in the early hours of the morning to her husband having a cardiac arrest in the bed next to her. Following the traumatic experience that saw Geraldine Bolger perform CPR for 30 minutes, she is urging people to learn the technique.
Rosaleen, her husband and four children recently made the trip to Baldonnell on the invitation of the Air Corps who airlifted her to hospital two years ago.
In October 2016, Michelle Herbert suffered a cardiac arrest while playing in the Limerick junior county camogie final.
Nursing home residents feel the wind in their hair thanks to exciting new project
As HSE teams begin visiting schools for this year's HPV vaccination campaign, Laura Brennan gave a moving speech at a HSE media event in Dublin.
News this week that carers in receipt of carers allowance or benefit are entitled to a free GP visit card means that there is one less worry for Moira and her family.
The new birthing pool has already become a wonderful addition to the facilities at Maternity Hospital Limerick, with local mums praising the sense of calm and empowerment they felt during their labours.
Learning about his diabetes has helped to empower one man to change his lifestyle and enjoy a good quality of life despite the diagnosis.
Beginning a journey to recovery, with or without mental health difficulties, is possible for everyone, and the first step in that process is often as simple as telling someone what’s going on.
Part of the Living Well with Dementia pilot project - “See the Person, not their Dementia”.
Seven students recently graduated from Blue Teapot’s programme specifically for adults with intellectual disabilities
Patients now have an electronic record instead of a paper record, which will enhance patient care
Her success marks an important milestone for cardiology and nursing services nationally and in Tallaght Hospital
Thanks to an insulin pump, a family of three children are now able to lead normal lives