Minister for Health visits Cork city care hub which helps 2,500 patients stay safe at home for longer

The hub is one of two such hubs for older people in Cork and is part of the national Enhanced Community Care (ECC) programme.
Minister for Health visits Cork city care hub which helps 2,500 patients stay safe at home for longer

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD is visiting the Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Integrated Care Hub in Cork city this morning.

THE Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly is in Cork city this morning visiting the Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Integrated Care Hub for older people based at St. Finbarr’s Health Campus.

The hub is one of two such hubs for older people in Cork and is part of the national Enhanced Community Care (ECC) programme. 

Minister Donnelly met older people attending the hub this morning for assessment.

Developed as part of implementing Sláintecare, the ECC programme aims to reduce pressure on services and dependence on the hospital-centric model of care through enhanced and increased community services.

The services at the St Finbarr’s hub in Cork city help 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, which is coordinated from the hub.

It provides services to older people with complex needs and frailty and gives them access to specialist multidisciplinary assessments for older people.

The hub gives people 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.

Minister Donnelly said: 

“ECC is a huge investment in community healthcare services in the HSE, aiming to provide more services closer to people’s homes and provide extra services for older people, or people who live with long-term health conditions,” he said.

The Minister continued: 

“The work that has been undertaken by the Integrated Care Programmes for Older People and Chronic Disease over recent years has shown that we can achieve much improved outcomes, particularly for older people who are frail, and those with chronic disease."

"The new model of care allows the specialist multidisciplinary team to engage and interact with services at community healthcare network level, supporting people in their diagnosis and ongoing care,” he added.

Michael Fitzgerald, Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said the hubs provide ‘high quality’ care. 

“This hub, and other similar teams already in operation around Cork, 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 in the lives of thousands of older people in Cork."

"The entire programme depends on collaboration between many parts of the health service, and the co-operation between HSE staff, GPs and others is clearly paying dividends here,” he added.

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.

The outreach team provides a “ward at home” service and sees 45 patients a month, in their own homes.

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.

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