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Cork cocooning project has positive influence on health of the community

HSE Chief Officer, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Michael Fitzgerald presents the HSE Health Service Excellence Award to the team at Turners Cross Day Care Centre in Cork

A Cork based initiative at Turners Cross Day Care Centre - supporting older adults to stay physically active during Covid-19 through cocooning and beyond - had a significant positive impact on the lives of older people locally.  Helping older people remain strong and steady on their feet, the project was the winner in the HSE Health Service Excellence Award -  Supporting a Healthy Community Category.

Michelle McNamara, Senior Physiotherapist with the programme, explains that “one of the lasting impacts of this project are the newly fostered connections with other agencies in our community working all together synergistically with a common goal to support older adults to stay strong and steady on their feet.”

“The aim of this project was to assist adults at this time to remain strong and steady on their feet and so reduce their risk of falling.  We implemented this by creating an evidence-based exercise resource which we also supported with an exercise video. Once cocooning was finished we put in place a walking programme in the local community hall.

“We reached out to the older adults and agencies in our community so that it would reach as many older adults as possible as quickly as we could. Our community partners were integral in the fast response and in its success.

“The impact of this project is still ongoing but what we do know is that 200,000 copies of the exercise programme were distributed.  A total of 420,000 people were able to access this through national TV and 500,000 were also able to access it through YouTube. The participants improved through balance, well-being, confidence and overall walking ability.”

The project is run in partnership with The Partners for Creative Concepts - a volunteer private sector marketing agency.  It also includes Cork Healthy Cities,  Cork A20 programme, Cork Sports Partnership, the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists,  Ballyvaughan Community Development and Meals on Wheels.