18th July 2022 Caption: Sally Clarke with her daughter Ingrid
An integrated care hub for older people in Cork city is helping at least 2,500 older people every year to avoid hospital and stay well at home for longer.
The Cork South Older Person’s Hub is part of the Enhanced Community Care Programme and is one of two such hubs in Cork city, which in turn are part of a nationwide network which will eventually see 30 Older Person’s Hubs in operation.
ECC represents an overall €240 million investment in community health services.
Sally Clarke, 82, from Wilton in Cork city, is one of the thousands of Cork people who have been able to say well at home thanks to the services at the hub. “I’m so thankful, so happy to be home and to be so well,” she said. After contracting Covid, Sally needed help with her balance and with mobility, and the staff at the home have supported her. Sally said:
“I came home to Ingrid, my daughter. I was very happy to be home. Ingrid and myself felt relaxed, we knew we had the very best of care and we knew what we were doing.”
Patrick (Paddy) Corcoran, 89, from Togher in Cork city, spent three weeks in hospital after a bad fall, and the team at the hub helped him to get back to his own home:
“Being at home helped me to recover, because I felt happier at home. The service was fantastic, and I never expected it. I was at home and the outreach team visited me three days a week."
Helping older people stay in their own homes for as long as possible The Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Integrated Care Hub for older people is based at St. Finbarr’s Health Campus in Cork City. Staff at the hub help older people (aged 65 and over) to stay safe and well in their own homes for as long as possible.
This hub is home to both physical clinics and an outreach team. It provides services to older persons over 65 years of age with complex needs and frailty, and gives them access to specialist multidisciplinary assessment for older people. The hub give . access to a range of clinics, including rapid access clinics; falls clinics; clinics that assist with memory or dementia; frailty clinics and several nurse-led and therapy-led clinics.
The service sees approximately 2,500 patients each year, with 200 new patients taken on each month. Urgent referrals are seen in the same week, and referrals to the rapid access clinic are seen within two weeks.
Ward at home service
The outreach team provides a 'ward at home' service and sees 45 patients a month, in their own home. It provides for crisis intervention and assessment and case management is led by an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. There are currently 45 patients on the outreach team’s caseloads and this will increase as the team grows.
Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, said:
“This hub, and other similar teams, allow us to provide high quality care to older people as close as possible to home. It can give fast access to specialist services in the community for older people. I want to thank the staff who have worked to get this team up and running, and who are already making a difference to the lives of thousands of older people in Cork. The entire programme depend on collaboration between many parts of the health service, and the co-operation between HSE staff, GPs and others is clearly paying dividends here.”
Developed as part of implementing Sláintecare, the ECC programme aims to ensure all HSE primary and community care services work in an integrated way to meet population health needs across Ireland, to reduce dependence on hospital services and provide access to consultant-led specialist services in the community.
Watch Sally discuss her delight at the care and support she received: