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New UHK mental health unit opens

The refurbished Sliabh Mis mental health unit at University Hospital Kerry has been officially opened.

Minister for Mental Health Jim Daly officially opened the 34-bed mental health admission unit (also known as an 'approved centre') on Friday (31st). 

Since 2015, Sliabh Mis has undergone a major phased programme of refurbishment, which has brought about a significant upgrade in accommodation for people in Kerry needing admission to an approved centre.  

The €3.7million refurbishment programme  included the upgrading of the existing accommodation for inpatients at the Reask and Brandon wards. The project also involved the development of a four-bed high-observation unit, called the Brandon Unit.

The Brandon Unit was completed as part of phase one of the refurbishment.

It has been in use since April of last year, following the recruitment of an additional 13 nursing staff.

The HSE South said that the unit has had a significant impact on the quality and safety of acute mental-health treatment for the people of Kerry.

Head of Mental Health Services with Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Sinead Glennon said the refurbishment has allowed the creation of a model of care which encourages recovery.

"The newly refurbished unit represents a significant upgrade in accommodation for service users requiring acute inpatient stay, and will enable the service to meet regulatory compliance in relation to premises," said Ms Glennon. 

"The clinically informed, patient-centred design of the unit is intended to reinforce treatment goals and the positive expectations of staff and service users.

"The design also aims to provide a more homelike environment where possible, with a reduction in the institutional feel of the unit," Ms Glennon added.

Kerry Mental Health Executive Clinical Director Dr Darra Phelan said the unit's mission "is to seek to obtain the optimum level of mental health well-being and quality of life for each individual person it serves through the provisions of high-quality, responsive and person-centred care".

"We are guided by the principles of recovery; our way of working is based on care, compassion and commitment. Our multi-disciplinary team ethos is focused on the individual person's abilities and needs. Staff working in the unit work very hard to provide a high level of care and to meet regulatory standards, and the newly refurbished unit gives us the best possible environment to help us deliver that mission," said Dr Phelan. 

The team at Sliabh Mis was also recently recognised at the 2019 Cork Kerry Community Healthcare staff awards for the work it carries out at the unit.