Building a Better Health Service

Your Health

Ray thanks PHN and Limerick Primary Team for his late dad’s care

 Ray Dunford


“You have someone to talk and you have no idea how invaluable that is.  They were compassionate, respectful, kind, sympathetic, empathetic” – Ray Dunford speaking about the HSE team based in the Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Limerick, who supported him when his Dad, Dan became ill with cancer.

Dan sadly passed away in November 2021 but Ray is extremely grateful and genuinely appreciative of all that was done for his dad and the family.

Thanking staff

Mary O’Malley, General Manager, Primary Care, HSE Mid West Community Healthcare, in expressing her thanks to all staff across the region, thanked “each and every one of you for your hard work, commitment, and dedication to supporting people in our communities.  The difference you make to people’s lives often goes unrepresented and uncounted but you do make a huge difference to all the individuals that you meet on a daily basis.  Thank you for that.”

For Ray, the first interaction was a positive one, even though it came in difficult circumstances.  “My Dad was diagnosed with cancer on September 21st. I suppose this was new to all of us – he was 92. He was a great age. He was driving still right to up a week before he got sick.  This came out of the blue – he’d never been sick really – he had gone through life virtually unscathed.  My sister came home from the States, and we said ‘right, we have this’.  And I said ‘sure, between the two of us, what can go wrong?’  To say we were naïve is putting it mildly.  I knew nothing of community care.  And then the Public Health Nursearrives, Catherine McCarthy from Barrack View Primary Care Centre.

“She started saying we needed a rollater, you know, the little zimmer frame on wheels.  We needed a hospital bed; we needed a commode and a shower seat.  Dad was still going up and down the stairs at that point but she was insistent in a nice way but firm way.  And by God did we subsequently learn that we needed all those things. Myself and my sister realised and said afterwards just how she was a month ahead of us the whole time. 

 'A legend'

Speaking of his dad, he described him as “a legend. Every day was a good day.  Gardening was his thing.  His garden was like the Garden of Eden.  Sure he got me into it.  I used to go out and initially I didn’t have much interest, but it developed.  He had a lot of gifts but if I had to pick one he passed on to me it would be his love of gardening.  My kids – his grandkids - were wicked close to him.  He always found a way to embed himself in their lives.

 A blessing

“The support we received from the nurse and the whole team – my wife said afterwards that they were a blessing in disguise.  You are facing this for the first time and think you have a handle on it but you don’t.  And you realise that very quickly.  Then there’s someone coming in or calling every few days and you talk to them after they have seen to the needs of the client and chat to them.  You talk about what’s going on – about the next step.  You have someone to talk and you have no idea how invaluable that is.  They were compassionate, respectful, kind, sympathetic, empathetic – you name it, they were it. 

"Of course, it isn’t until you start going through it and someone turns up on your doorstep and literally takes over in a nice, subtle way and I’d stress that – I couldn’t say enough about Catherine – she was brilliant.”

Watch Ray Dunford talk about his experience of the HSE team based in the Barrack View Primary Care Centre -