Community healthcare services like those at St Mary’s Health Campus in Gurranabraher will ‘transform healthcare, not just in Cork, but across the country’, allowing people to get the treatment they need closer to home.
That is according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who visited the campus this week to see two new integrated care services in action, which are part of a national Enhanced Community Care programme.
He also cut the ribbon on a €30m extension that added 60 beds to Heather House nursing home.
The Taoiseach said it was “heartening” to see important new services arriving, to “continue the proud tradition of providing quality health services for the people of Cork from the campus”.
Developed as part of implementing Sláintecare, the Enhanced Community Care programme reduces people’s dependency on overburdened hospital services, by providing access to consultant-led specialist services in their own community.
A Chronic Diseases Management Centre is set to open on the campus later this month, which will provide specialist services for people living with respiratory, cardiac, and endocrine chronic disease and/or multi-morbidity.
A hub for older people has been operating since March, to help older people to stay safe and well in their own homes for as long as possible, and avoid or shorten hospital stays.
Kay Cronin, operational team lead at the Older Person’s Hub, said the facility allows them to provide people with “the right care, in the right place, at the right time, and as close to home as possible”.
Working with both acute services and local community groups, the hub provides comprehensive end to end care for older people.
“Since we’ve opened we’ve had 90 visits from older persons, the majority of whom would have ended up in the acute system.
“Apart from the pressure it takes out of the system, it’s also just much nicer care for people,” said Ms Cronin.
Jack O’Donovan agrees, speaking to The Echo after his first visit to the new hub on Thursday. Mr O’Donovan lives in Ballyvolane.
He said the new service is “brilliant altogether”, as he hopes it will mean him spending less time in emergency departments or on waiting lists, if he is unfortunate enough to have a fall.
“I had a fall recently and was waiting in the Mercy for eight hours. And the week before I was up there waiting with a dropped foot…
“This is very handy instead of going all the way across the city to CUH, and everyone is extremely nice,” he said.
Mr O’Donovan added that for whatever ailments can’t be solved by the team at St Mary’s, a sea swim in Fountainstown at the weekend should do the trick.
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