A project by the HSE to transform the care culture and environment in the Sacred Heart Hospital, Roscommon, has won a 2012 Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award. The Award was presented to Julie Silke at a ceremony in Dublin Castle on Thursday, 21st June.
The Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Awards take place every two years and aim to showcase and celebrate public service projects and promote innovation and excellence.
The award winning project at the Sacred Heart Hospital was adopted from the Eden Alternative, a worldwide care philosophy designed to de-institutionalise and transform the culture and environment of long term residential care.
At the core of Eden is the empowerment of both residents and staff, giving them a strong voice in the direction of facility life. While this is not a new concept, it focuses on a different way of thinking, promotes flexibility and ultimately helps residents to “live in the moment”.
This culture change across the Sacred Heart commenced with a series of education sessions, including all aspects of dementia care, with staff at all levels, and has simultaneously led to significant reductions in the incidence of falls, use of benzodiazepines and staff absenteeism. Speaking prior to the award ceremony, Catherine Cunningham, Area Manager, Galway/Roscommon PCCC Services, HSE West, stated: “This award offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the success of people working together to provide such a positive impact on people’s lives every single day.
This is the fifth Taoiseach’s Award for Roscommon and the ninth for the HSE West area, and we are very pleased with the innovative and creative developments that have taken place within our services to merit these prestigious awards.”
One of the key transformations of the project is staff creativity in implementing a range of meaningful and diverse activities to prevent loneliness and boredom of residents, along with continuous efforts to seek opportunities for engagement with the wider community.
Activities range from entertainers, animal visits, games like golf Wii, beauty therapy, crafts, exercise classes, inter-generational work and encouragement of everyday skills, such as feeding the fish and birds and preparing the dining room.
Spontaneous interventions are now commonplace; for example, town visits on a fine day, shopping trips, changes in shift patterns and resident mealtimes, an ice cream party where a staff member asked Mr Whippy to call, and an evening sing-along with a celebrity. Strong links have been made with local schools, leading to regular visits from school children who join in the activities.
Julie Silke, Director of Nursing, Sacred Heart Hospital, Roscommon, said: “Through the Eden Alternative project, the environment at the Hospital has also been transformed, with the provision of more space, traditional designs and relaxing ambience, and a significant emphasis on softer interior design themes, including wall paper designs, green plants and household accessories.
“Residents were fully involved in the upgrade and formed their own committee, led by an advocate and one leader resident. Personal areas were improved by providing generous space for home furnishings for each resident.
The larger communal areas have a more homely charm, with residents participating in activities or simply experiencing the comings and goings of day-to-day life.”
Co-funding to support the transformation programme came from the local community through many innovative fund-raising events, such as fashion shows, concerts, charity marathons, dinner dances and raffles.
Julie Silke concluded: “The Sacred Heart Hospital is on a continual “Eden Alternative journey”, creating a environment with positive outcomes and where people feel comfortable and want to live in, work and visit.”
Issue dated: 29 June 2012
© Roscommon People