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Written by:
May 15, 2020

Dear colleagues,

As normal service is resumed, and we start to see an increase in patient flow across our hospitals, it is vital that our health service strives to ensure we do not return to the levels of overcrowding previously experienced in our system. It must be a priority that we continue to develop robust pathways of care, in collaboration with our community partners, and ensure that the number of delayed transfers of care continue to stay low.

To that end, I am delighted to say that our newly named ‘Slí Abhaile’ COVID-19 Integrated Rehabilitation and Reablement Model of Care is making significant progress. It is clear that a dynamic, robust model is necessary to mitigate the additional impact of COVID on many patients no longer requiring acute care. Our newly developed post-acute care facilities in St Mary’s Phoenix Park, St Mary’s Mullingar and Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan will cater for patients needing rehabilitation or reablement and who cannot immediately return home or are awaiting transfer to residential care. Through this model of care, multidisciplinary teams of experts will manage the rehabilitation of large volumes of patients following discharge from both ICU and acute wards, providing ongoing integrated care and support for the cognitive, respiratory, psychological and physical effects of COVID-19. The model includes specialist rehabilitation post-discharge with seamless transition to community services if required.  

Below are further IEHG COVID updates from this week:

• On behalf of the IEHG Senior Management Team, I would like to thank all the IEHG staff who went over and above the call of duty in providing essential support to the residential care sector recently. Their support provided stability to the sector and was testament to how those in the acute system have risen to the challenge in responding to this crisis.

• We are continuing to work with private hospitals, who are providing much needed support as we move toward the resumption of normal services.

• In terms of procurement, a number of initiatives are currently being explored by hospitals within the Group with regard to looking at reusable isolation gowns. This option is also being looked at nationally with a view to increasing availability.

• Recruitment continues for a variety of posts in our new post-acute/rehab care settings. The Staff Bank continues to recruit for nurses and midwives with anticipated start dates from next week.

• In the two weeks to 8 May, 28 major surgeries for gynaecological cancers were performed.

• Newstalk reporter Barry Whyte reported from Regional Hospital Mullingar this week on how their COVID lab is now turning around testing in 24 hours. You can listen back here: https://bit.ly/2Z6jx80

• On 8 May, the Mater welcomed Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, to the launch of the Covid Assessment Hub. This joint project between the Mater, the HSE and Safety Net PC will specifically care for vulnerable groups as we continue to combat COVID-19.

• Dr Jack Lambert, Consultant in Infectious Diseases at the Mater, has secured a HRB grant for an important study on the ongoing impact of COVID on populations in Dublin’s northside.

• UCD Health Affairs have published an article on their website on how our Academic Health Science System has boosted care in the community at this time. You can read it here at: https://bit.ly/2Z4TUoj

• Dr Mary Higgins (NMH), Prof Fionnuala Ní Áinle (MMUH), Prof Patricia Maguire (UCD) and Dr Paulina Szklanna (UCD) are among 12 teams from across Ireland to be shortlisted to compete for Science Foundation Ireland Future Innovator Prizes of €5 million. Their test, AI_PREMie, will focus on the development of an AI-powered risk stratification platform for Preeclampsia.  

Tuesday also marked International Nurses Day. It is fair to say that the Irish health system would be lost without the leadership and compassion of its incredible nurses and nursing students, not only at this time of crisis, but each and every day. We thank them all for the unwavering care and support they give to our patients.

The Dublin Neurological Institute (DNI) at the Mater has decided to hold a fundraiser run this Saturday (16th) and Sunday (17th) May to raise much-needed funds for the Institute, which cares for patients with neurological diseases including, Parkinson, Epilepsy, Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Headache, and Stroke (to name but a few). DNI staff members are planning to run over 150km between them this weekend and will track their run/walk using the free app 'Map My Run'. Anyone who wishes to join is very welcome. You can donate through their Go Fund Me page at: https://bit.ly/2z1nUql

Finally, a meeting of the IEHG Board was held this morning at which the members wished to extend their gratitude to all the staff across our hospitals for the tremendous work and commitment shown in recent weeks as this pandemic unfolded.

Stay safe.

Regards,

Mary Day, IEHG CEO

This message has been edited for online.