I’m absolutely thrilled to hear about this seniors’ project, thrilled to hear it’s won top prize in the HSE Health Service Excellence Awards and very excited to hear that it could soon become available nationwide… hurry up, #Dad (92) is waiting!
Over 300 projects from all over the country entered the 2017 Health Service Excellence Awards, which are open to all staff working in the publicly funded health system. 11 innovative projects got through to the final shortlist after a rigorous selection process. These projects highlight how so many HSE staff are working to deliver better services with easier access and higher quality care for patients.
The Overall Award went to ‘Innovative Support Co-ordination for Older Persons’. This is a joint project between Alone and the HSE which aims to keep older people living well at home for as long as possible. By co-ordinating and organising services for older people who might need some extra support to continue living at home or some practical help to return home from hospital, the two agencies have, to date, supported 489 older people in Dublin North city and county.
This project was piloted in CHO Dublin North City & County where four ALONE support co-ordinators were funded by the HSE. Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, explains: “to avoid duplication of services, ALONE works in partnership with other organisation to ensure the best use of limited resources.”
Since the programme began in January, 489 older people have been referred to the service. Older people can be referred to the service through their GP, public health nurse, or self-refer. Support coordinators help older people by assessing their needs. Many organisations – voluntary, local government and the health service – provide services for older people. Knowing what is available, where to go and how to access these services can be very confusing and frustrating.
“The people who are referred to us have a variety of needs. The type of support people might need could be anything from repairs or adaptions to their house, help with applying for grants, setting up a befriending service if they are lonely or isolated. The list goes on.” Corrinne Hasson (ALONE Support Coordinator).
Margaret Browne is someone who benefits from the program and has a befriending volunteer coming weekly to her home to keep her company; “I really enjoy her company. My family don’t visit me often, so I look forward to seeing her every week. I wish she could come more often.”
Trained volunteers provide support to older people by providing services such as a befriending and events service; informing them of their benefits and entitlements; helping with access to primary care services; assisting with applications/grants/etc; and end of life planning and budgeting.
The programme intends to create a cost effective, scalable, and transferable model by working with all services in the area. The project aims to:
· reduce hospital admission and support older people being discharged to return home
· avoid nursing home admissions, for older people with lower support needs
· identify factors preventing an older person from living well at home and identify the practical, social resources and supports addressing these factors
“The implementation of the Support Co-ordination Project in Dublin North City and County with the HSE and ALONE has facilitated the supporting almost 500 vulnerable older people in these communities across all areas of their lives where they needed assistance. It would be the aim that we could bring this service nationwide by the end of 2019”, says Samantha Rayner, HSE Older Person Specialist, National Social care.
The Excellence Awards enable the HSE to identify new and creative service developments that can be shared and implemented, as appropriate, in different parts of our health system. The Programme for Health Service Improvement is now planning to work with a number of the project teams to support the innovative work they do.
Speaking about the importance of the awards, Tony O’Brien, Director General of the HSE, said: “The Health Service Excellence Awards are designed to identify and recognise the real value we place on excellence and innovation across all of our health service.”
HSE National Director of Human Resources, Rosarii Mannion, said: “It is our ambition for staff to have a strong sense of connection to our service, take personal responsibility for achieving better outcomes and support their team colleagues to deliver results. The commitment of staff throughout the public health service contributes in a very significant way to the quality and satisfaction levels acknowledged by the people who use our services.”
Full details of the shortlisted projects can be found at: www.hse.ie/excellenceawards.