Services for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients in Wexford are to be expanded thanks to the newly-launched Sláintecare Integration Fund.
Funding of €183,000 will allow for the expansion of Pulmonary Rehabilitation services into Gorey, improving accessibility for patients in the north of the county by providing services closer to their home.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation is an evidence-based intervention for people with respiratory disease that results in increased exercise capacity, improved quality of life and overall self-management of their condition. At present the service demand for pulmonary rehabilitation in Wexford far outweighs the service capacity.
It is envisaged that a Senior Physiotherapist and Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist, with administrative support, will be recruited to run this new programme.
'Securing this Sláintecare funding was a huge achievement for our Wexford Respiratory Team. We are absolutely delighted with the news and we look forward to increasing respiratory services in Wexford,' said Sara Leacy, Senior Physiotherapist, COPD Outreach Wexford.
It is estimated that currently 440,000 Irish people have COPD. The most recent OECD (2017) report showed Wexford had the fifth highest national hospitalisation rate for COPD.
Olga Riley, Senior Physiotherapist, Respiratory Integrated Care, Wexford, said, 'The Wexford Respiratory Team is unique in that we have a very collaborative approach to how we deliver our services. This grant allocation will allow us to further develop and expand our team.'
COPD Outreach Wexford was recently shortlisted for an Irish Healthcare Centre Award for its innovative and collaborative approach to setting up the Wexford COPD Peer support and Exercise group. The group was launched in November 2018 and continues to hold weekly exercise classes for people with respiratory conditions every Friday at 2 p.m. in Clonard Community Centre.
A number of other programmes have been approved for Sláintecare funding in Wexford and the South East.
'The Exercise Effect' will provide prescriptive, professionally led and community-based physical activity interventions for people with mental health difficulties in the county.
A Frailty Awareness and Training Programme, delivered by South East Community Healthcare and Wexford General Hospital, will provide healthcare professionals with an enhanced understanding of frailty and frailty assessments, thereby ensuring earlier recognition of frailty, improved healthcare management and better health outcomes for frail older adults.
In addition, the Chronic Disease Self-Management Programme (CDSMP) will be rolled out across the South East. The programme assists adults over 18 living with a long term health condition to learn the skills necessary to deal with the day to day management of living with their health condition. Over six weeks, participants build confidence in managing symptoms such as fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, and low mood and learn skills which helps them to manage medications, set goals and find resources and support.
Other projects to be approved for funding were an Integrated Ambulatory Care Heart Failure Project which aims to improve the quality of life of patients with heart failure, through improvements in access to diagnosis and quality of service delivery; and a dedicated smoking cessation service for pregnant women and their families.
The project will involve the training of staff that interact with a pregnant woman on the use of carbon monoxide monitoring and interventions.
Funding for these projects will come from the €20 million Sláintecare Integration Fund which was launched in March of this year.