Mae Reilly from Finea, Co Cavan who was a patient in the UHG Coronary Care Unit in 2019 and whose daughters and sons used the Croí Family Room during her stay, with from left: Sinead Duke, Clinical Nurse Manager; and staff nurses Michelle Munnelly and Katie McCormack.
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.
The value of the family room was highlighted by Rosetta Reilly from Co Cavan who spent time in the family room in 2019 while her mother was under the care of the Coronary Care Unit.
“Our family were delighted to have use of the Croí Family Room for the duration of our mother’s six night hospital stay. I was here every day and the rest of the family visited daily from Cavan. We were able to have a cup of tea together between visits to the Coronary Care Unit and I was able to rest here too. Living so far from the hospital, it was fantastic to have a home away from home which allowed us to be close to our mother,” she said.
The Coronary Care Unit is a specialist unit for patients recovering after an acute heart attack or with other serious heart conditions. It is the primary heart unit for the Saolta Hospital Group and patients from all parts of the West and North West of the country are cared for there.
UHG manager Chris Kane explained that many of the patients treated in the Coronary Care Unit arrive by ambulance or helicopter with little time to prepare for a hospital stay.
“They come from all parts of the country and having a family room available makes a huge difference to the families who may travel long distances to the hospital in stressful situations. We are very appreciative of the support from Croí which made the new family room possible.”
Meanwhile, the new buddy beds in SUH were installed thanks to individual generous donations and a massive fundraising campaign by the local community.
The fundraising campaign, which began in December 2018, has resulted in the provision of new buddy beds which are special chairs that convert to comfortable beds allowing for a restful night’s stay for a parent or family member.
Orla McDonagh, Acting CNM Paediatric Unit at SUH, explained, “While working as a CNM on the paediatric ward, one of the main concerns I had was the lack of appropriate sleeping arrangements available to parents who have to stay with their child overnight in hospital.
“We tapped into our community and got tremendous support from local organisations, schools, crèches, clubs, government departments, social clubs and Friends of Sligo University Hospital. Our local secondary schools in the area hosted ‘A Christmas Jumper’ Day and volunteers of the St Patrick’s ‘Leprechaun’ Day Parade not only attempted to break the world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as leprechauns but also joined our fundraiser campaign.
“The 21 buddy beds are vitally important and the benefits are far-reaching, with parents and family members having somewhere appropriate to rest and have some semblance of a night’s sleep while at the same time being near their child to comfort them.
Orla added, “We are very grateful of the support from three families in the area: the family of the late Paddy McCarrick from Sligo town, who worked in SUH, donated one of the beds in Paddy’s memory; the Amy Lowry Trust from Ballymote donated a bed in memory of their daughter Amy; and the Forde family from Grange donated a bed in appreciation of Fr John Carroll, our hospital chaplain, for all his hard work, dedication, support and friendship to their family.”