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Community Respiratory Service ensures right care is delivered by the right people, in the right place at the right time

August 24, 2020

The recent addition of a Respiratory Consultant with a community focus, and a new Community Case Manager based at Sligo University Hospital, will ensure that fewer patients have to travel for Respiratory Services. The Community Respiratory Service and the Community Case Manager will provide treatment and care to patients, primarily older frail patients, in their own home for as long as possible thereby promoting their independence and maintaining their dignity, privacy and respect.

Respiratory services treat illnesses like asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and other lung-related conditions.

Staff who developed the Community Respiratory Service at Sligo University Hospital are (from L-R) Ciara Connellan, OT Co-ordinator of ICTPOP, Siobhan McEniff, Clinical Project Officer, Louise Potts, CAWT Acute Hospital Services Project Manager, Deirdre Williams, Community Case Manager, Martin Collum, General Manager CH01 (Older Peoples Services), Bernie McCrory, CAWT Chief Officer, and Grainne McCann, General Manager Sligo University Hospital

Welcoming the improved service, Project Lead Siobhan McEniff said: “Forty per cent of attendances at the Emergency Department at Sligo University Hospital relate to respiratory conditions; a high number of these patients are frail older people. By treating them at home we aim to reduce the need for patients to travel and attend the Emergency Department reducing the footfall on the acute hospital site and, where appropriate, reducing hospital admissions for our older respiratory patients. For patients who do require admission we aim to reduce the length of their hospital stays through a more integrated model of community care.”

Working with the existing respiratory consultant, the CAWT-funded consultant will focus on providing specialised inter-disciplinary care closer to patients’ homes. He will support the flow of patients through the Emergency Department and link with the appropriate health care professionals, including the Community Case Manager, to ensure that the right care is delivered by the right people, in the right place at the right time.

Community Case Manager Deirdre Williams explained: “The role of the Case Manager is to focus proactively on high risk patients who present with a combination of medical, nursing, pharmaceutical and social care needs. Under the direction of hospital geriatricians a comprehensive geriatric assessment, which includes their respiratory condition, is undertaken. This integrated assessment and treatment approach ensures the delivery of enhanced respiratory care offering clinical support, monitoring and advice on self care to patients, their families and carers.”

Consultant Respiratory Physician Katherine Finan stated: “By focusing on early diagnosis of patients at risk of COPD we will improve these patients access to treatment, avoiding the development of complications and hospital admissions.”

This improved model of care for older people, who represent 50% of the demographic population in the eligible area, reflects strategic policy across all modern integrated health care systems.

CAWT Chief Officer Bernie McCrory said: “Investments in service improvements like the Community Respiratory Service and the introduction of the Community Case Manager reinforce CAWT’s continued commitment to the reform and modernisation of scheduled and unscheduled care services in the border region. Creating additional capacity in acute service provision benefits both the patient and the service. Frail, older patients can access services at home or in a community setting as close to their home as possible. Capacity in Emergency Departments and acute hospital wards is increased through reductions in unnecessary hospital attendances, admissions and readmissions.”

For further information on CAWT’s Acute Hospital Services Project contact Louise Potts, Project Manager,