Minister for Health Simon Harris TD, has announced the successful applicants for the €20 million Sláintecare Integration fund which includes projects across Donegal.
Of the 122, successful applicants 12 were from within Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 which includes Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo).
The projects span across Primary Care, Social Care, and Health and Wellbeing.
Three of the projects are joined CHO 1 and Saolta Hospital Group initiatives demonstrating the importance of integration of community and hospital services.
Within Donegal the following projects were successful:
1. Development of a comprehensive Heart Failure Integrated Care Service for the whole of Donegal. This is a joint project between Primary care services and Letterkenny University Hospital. It will result in two teams of nurses one based in the community and one in LUH who will support GPs and practice Nurses to manage heart failure patients. They will support the early diagnosis of heart failure in the community by providing testing to monitor how the heart is functioning. They will support GPs in establishing heart failure registries and clinics. The project will also encompass education of patients and family members to better enable them to manage their heart conditions.
2. Establishment of a community oxygen assessment service in Donegal. This will enable patients who have respiratory disease such as COPD to have their oxygen needs assessed and monitored in Primary Care settings. Thus allowing oxygen therapy to be administered accordingly.
3. Supporting individuals with early onset dementia in the Inishowen area. This will be carried out through the provision of a support worker to support both individual’s/family members and carers once a diagnosis of dementia has been confirmed.
4. Improving access to healthcare through promoting the use of the HSE Health Passport. This is a joint project between Primary Care and Sligo and Letterkenny University Hospitals. The HSE Health Passport is a communication tool designed to support people with an Intellectual Disability express their needs when in a healthcare setting.
5. Establish an Optometry Service within Donegal Primary Care Ophthalmic clinics. The Optometrist will deliver eye care as part of a Primary Care eye Team including Orthoptists, Nurses, Medical Ophthalmologists, Ophthalmic technicians and Administrative staff. Ophthalmic clinics will help reduce waiting lists and enhance delivery of care in a cost effective manner.
6. Initiation of Specialist Medical Retina Clinical Services and Intravitreal Injections (injection in to the back of the eye) in Donegal Community Ophthalmic Service. At present all patients in Donegal requiring investigation and management of medical retina conditions of the eye are referred to Sligo University Hospital as they have a dedicated Ophthalmic Unit. Commencing specialist medical retina clinics at St Conal’s Hospital and an injection service at Letterkenny University Hospital would mean that patients no longer have to travel to Sligo for this treatment.
7. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) for Community Ophthalmic service Donegal. SLT is an outpatient procedure performed in a single treatment in the clinic which treats the internal drainage channel of the eye. This allows for increased drainage and reduction in pressure in the eye. The development of a SLT service for glaucoma in Donegal will reduce the need for referral to Sligo University hospital.
The Chief Officer, for CHO 1, Mr John Hayes welcomed the Sláintecare Integration funding stating “These projects will aid in enhancing and developing services for patients across the five counties. It will aid in the delivery of quality healthcare to the most vulnerable in our health system. I look forward to working with all of the project teams in the implementation of these initiatives”.
The Sláintecare Action Plan 2019 establishes the building blocks for a significant shift in the way in which health services are delivered in Ireland. It seeks to deliver on the Future of Healthcare Committee’s vision of a health system in which care is provided in the right place, at the right time, by the right person.
These projects will benefit the population through promoting the engagement and empowerment of citizens in the care of their own health. They will enable Health care professionals to scale and share examples of best practice and processes for chronic disease management and the care of older people. Overall they will support the delivery of integrated care and the shift to community care in innovative new ways, helping to reduce and prevent hospital visits.
The funding for the 12 projects in CHO 1 amounts to approximately €1.3 million. They cover a number of areas including Respiratory Services, Falls prevention and Management in Older persons, Diabetes Care, Ophthalmic Services, Dementia Support, Access to Healthcare for Individuals with an Intellectual Disability, Chronic Disease Management, Cardiac Failure and Social Prescribing.