“A marvellously re-affirming visit to an extraordinary team who demonstrated an almost unbelievable degree of person-centred care despite the difficult prevailing conditions in the Irish health service”, was how an Accreditation Team from the School of Healthcare at the faculty of Medicine and Health in the University of Leeds described their experiences during a recent visit to Saint Patricks Hospital, Cashel.
Following on their deliberations, and after a number of interesting presentations highlighting various aspects of the hospitals team development work, informal and engaging discussions, and ward visits where they met with some patients and staff, they wrote, “ We are delighted and proud to award full stage 2 Accreditation with immediate effect to Saint Annes/Saint Bernadettes Ward, Rehabilitation Unit, Saint Clares Ward, Saint Benedicts and Saint Michaels Ward.
In their detailed report, the Accreditation Team, who were high in their praise of Ms. Mary Prendergast, Director of Nursing, and Ms. Joan Brosnan, Assistant Director, for their significant contribution to the Practice Development Unit, stated, ”The presentations showed the Practice Development Unit team to be particularly person-centred. They have stripped the jargon down to its core, and have worked out what person-centredness really means. In Saint Patricks, this means that everyone pays enormous attention to relationships, fostering respectful dealings with each patient, in ways that acknowledge each patient on their own terms. This takes a great deal of subtlety and flexibility but the result is a meticulous attention to detail to ensure that each and every patient is acknowledged and valued and that their varying and individual needs are met on each and every day. Impressively, we were convinced that this is not the preserve of a few enthusiasts, but that every single person we met is committed to providing the very best service to patients that they possibly can, each and every day that they come to work. It also came over clearly that the staff regard their work as ”service” and that despite the moratorium on staff recruitment and the very difficult financial situation facing the HSE at present, they refuse to be victims to external circumstances, preferring instead, to use Mary Prendergasts words, “to choose hope”.
In their lengthy report they also expressed satisfaction that Saint Patricks has excellent links with the local community at various levels, through Erasmus, and the transition year work experience programme where both patients and students interact with each other. They recognised the links with Abbott Laboratories in Clonmel as a very useful partnership and regarded the appointment of Ms. Anne Quinn, the first Advanced Nurse Practitioner in dementia care in the country, which has led to the development of the largest memory clinic outside Dublin, as an extraordinary achievement.
On a recent visit to Saint Patricks, Mayor Maribel Wood congratulated the team members and all the staff on the Accreditation success. She concurred with the Accreditation Teams observation that Saint Patricks has a growing reputation far beyond South Tipperary and said this was evidenced at last years international conference promoting compassion in health care and hosted by the hospital. She also expressed concerns about the continuing uncertainty and underlying threats hanging over services and bed closures, saying, “only those working in the hospital realise the difficulties faced on a daily basis”.
Councillor Wood is pleased that following her correspondence with South Tipperarys Health Forum members a visit to Saint Patricks Hospital is planned. She hopes that their visit will enlighten discussion at HSE meetings and prove beneficial to patients, families and staff.