Elderly centre to boost quality of life

IRELAND’S first Centre of Excellence for Successful Ageing is to use pioneering technology to boost older people’s quality of life.

The €57 million centre, based in St James’s Hospital in Dublin, will use the technology to reduce isolation, promote security, provide mental stimulation and improve morale.

The technology will include remote monitoring systems that will promote wellness and significantly enhance social support mechanisms for frail older people living in their own homes.

The centre, due to open in 2012, will be funded by the Department of Health and Children in partnership with the Atlantic Philanthropies.

The facility, announced yesterday, will bring together in one place all of the healthcare services focused on the conditions and illnesses associated with ageing.

It will provide clinical services, research, training and education and a special focus on the creative lives of older people and its relationship to successful ageing.

Director of the centre Prof Rose Anne Kenny said the centre will be able to provide rapid assessment for a range of diseases affecting older people.

As well as making huge improvements in the care provided to older people, the centre would also reduce the pressure on accident and emergency departments.

The professor of geriatric medicine at Trinity College Dublin said the new centre would be based on the hub and spoke model.

She explained that the hub would consist of a modern facility with a comprehensive range of diagnostic and treatment services fully integrated with strong research and training facilities and the spokes would consist of co-ordinated outreach links to the community.

“By breaking down the barriers between primary and secondary care, this new vision for treating older people will permit and encourage the seamless integration of hospital and community services,” she said.

Minister for Older People Máire Hoctor said it was Government policy to help older people to live healthy and independent lives in their own homes and communities.

“Innovative and creative initiatives, such as the centre, play a vital part in making sure this happens,” she said.

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