Nursing home a byword for innovation

It comes with the kind of mod-cons most would associate more with a family home than a community nursing unit, but then innovation is the byword for Cork’s newest residential care facility.

Ballincollig Community Nursing Unit, a €20.2m HSE build, has broken ground on several fronts, not least its public/private approach to running the facility, the first of its kind in the country.

While the HSE is the registered service provider, the home is 100% managed by Mowlam Healthcare Ltd, an arrangement that came about when the HSE was unable to staff the facility due to the recruitment moratorium. Mowlam has a track record in private nursing home provision with 15 nursing homes around the country.

The Ballincollig unit, built on the site of the former army barracks, will cater for 100 residents — 80 long-stay and 20 respite — when fully operational and will employ 100 staff, up from the current 70.

Officially opened at the weekend, it is already home to more than 60 residents, each of whom has a flat screen TV in their room which can be tuned to an on-site prayer room for those wishing to watch Mass.

For the more energetic of the residents, the unit boasts a physiotherapy gym and occupational therapy suite and makes innovative use of games technology using Wii Fit to work with residents to improve balance, dexterity and well-being.

The homes comprises four 25 bed units, each with 17 single en suite rooms, two double en suite rooms and one four-bedded en suite room. All the residents’ rooms have views of the landscaped gardens.

A web-based, electronic touch screen resident record is used to record the residents’ personal and clinical information and care plans. According to the HSE, the system enables staff to identify trends in relation to the residents’ care such as wound care, infection, falls and so on, and to then reduce and/or eradicate any issues of concern.

It has been opening on a phased basis since Sept 2011, although the build was completed two years earlier. The HSE is responsible for ensuring it complies with standards set by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

Speaking at the official opening, Pat Healy, regional director of operations, HSE South, said it would provide “a significantly improved level of access to quality long-stay residential care for older people in Cork city”.

Ballincollig CNU won the Best New Business Category in the Ballincollig Business Association Awards last Friday.

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