You'll never walk alone: Josephine O’Shea taking exercise with Scott Murphy, physiotherapy practice tutor, and Emer McGettrick, student physiotherapist
Ninety-one-year-old Josephine O’Shea who hails from Oola on the Tipperary and Limerick has praised the care and attention she has received at the Intermediate Care Facility launched by University Hospital Limerick Group in June.
The unit, set up in the UL Sports Arena, caters for 68 patients from the Mid-West, including North Tipperary , and was designed as an overspill from Limerick Hospital caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Josephine found herself marking her 91st birthday in the ICF after she suffered a fall at home on her kitchen floor, sustaining painful bruising on her side and back.
It was her third fall in the past seven years, and came as a significant blow to her self-confidence.
She was transferred to the ICF after spending a night at UHL, where it was decided she would benefit from some rehabilitation in the new facility
Ahead of her discharge from the ICF after two weeks of care, Josephine praised the multidisciplinary team.
“I’ve been amazed, because when we were driving in here, I was thinking, ‘Where on earth are we coming to?’ but I’m so pleased they did transfer me. The physiotherapists, Scott Murphy and Emer McGettrick and others, were great. They helped me to get on my feet and walk around, and many of the staff would also make time to have a chat with me. With all the rest and exercise I’ve had, I feel so much stronger now.”
Josephine revealed that she had a much more positive attitude now as well.
“Dr Cronin and Dr Mulloy and all the staff are wonderful. They’re so kind, and very reassuring, and they’ve given me the confidence I need to go home,” she said, saying the staff presented her with a cake on her 91st birthday and sang Happy Birthday to her.
“I’m not giving up now,” Josephine said. “I’m going to go for the 100.”
Nenagh native Fiona Steed, UL Hospital Group’s Allied Health lead, explained that the number and range of Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCPs) has enabled a complete and fully rounded approach to patient needs.
“Patients at the ICF are benefiting from a complete, multi-disciplinary approach to their ongoing needs, from a range of disciplines,” she said.
The number of patients at the ICF have increased steadily, and staffing has grown in line with this increase. As of this week, 50 patients have benefited from rehabilitation at the ICF to date, and there are currently 31 patients being cared for in the facility.
The 68-bed ICF, which has capacity to scale up to 84 beds, grew out of the collaborative relationship between UL Hospitals Group and the University of Limerick, and was developed as a contingency solution to the patient flow and crowding challenges experienced in the region’s hospitals during the pandemic. It is expected to be in place until at least September with an option to extend until November. The ICF is laid out in partitioned wards and fitted with ward support accommodation such as clean and dirty utilities, pharmacy, pantry, staff change, clinical treatment areas, two recreation areas, and four enclosed rooms.
Rostered 24/7 cover is provided by a workforce of approximately 70 personnel, including two consultant physicians, Dr Eithne Mulloy and Dr Con Cronin, and encompassing Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors (NCHDs), an Assistant Director of Nursing, Nursing staff, Clinical Nurse Managers, Health Care Assistants (HCAs), a Ward Clerk, support from the Patient Advocacy Liaison Service (PALS), a receptionist, catering, security personnel and porterage for day and night, and hygiene staff. The Allied Health team at the ICF includes Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Medical Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy and Speech & Language Therapy, and they have been supported by students of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Physiotherapy and Speech & Language Therapy from UL.