Denis Eustace: Minding the Mind

Dr Denis Eustace was a recent guest on the Mick Clifford Podcast with the Irish Examiner, where he discussed some very worrying features in the mental health of older people, which he and his colleagues have noticed since the onset of the pandemic.

You can listen to the podcast in full on Soundcloud, by following this link:

The Mick Clifford Podcast: Denis Eustace-Minding the mind in a time of Covid

” Fear and isolation are contributing to a rise in people experiencing mild cognitive impairment and more needs to be done to protect one of the most vulnerable cohorts in the population at this particular time.” –

Pfizer/BioNtech Vaccine Programme

Highfield Healthcare are pleased to announce that we are preparing to roll out the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to residents and staff on the week commencing 18th January.  We wish to share with you some important information in advance about the vaccine programme.

Highfield management team believes that it is vital that all residents receive the vaccine to protect their health and well-being.

The views of family members are important in this decision-making process and indeed families are often the best placed to understand what the person would have wished. While no other person such as a family member can consent to the vaccine on behalf of a person who lacks capacity to consent, for those who do lack capacity, a health care professional will make a decision, taking all this into account and based on what he/she believes is in their best interest.

As this is an urgent matter, we particularly wish to hear from anyone who is concerned about their relative in our care receiving the vaccination. Should you have concerns or specific queries, we ask you to please contact your family member’s treating doctor or our appointed Vaccination Family Liaison Person Kelley Daly on 01 8865418 by Friday 8th January

Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. We hope to be in a position to welcome visitors back soon following completion of the vaccine programme.

See below links to more detailed information regarding the vaccine programme, which may be helpful or answer some questions you may have.

HSE Vaccine Information Leaflet

HSE Consent Information Document

European Medicines Agency on Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty)

More detailed information can be accessed via the HSE website here:

Visitor Information| December 2020

After another difficult few months, we are delighted to inform you that Highfield will re-open to visitors from Monday, 7th of December.

As per advice from health authorities, we will facilitate one nominated visitor per week per resident. This will be for a maximum of 30 minutes. Please contact the visitor coordinator through reception on 01 8374444 to schedule a visit*.

*Visitors to Elmhurst & Desmond can schedule their visit by using the booking system on the following link:


  • We ask that you wear the provided surgical mask at all times from entering until exiting our facility.
  • Observe social distancing by remaining 2m away from your loved one
  • Adhere to our infection control practices.

Protocol for visitors to the each of our services has been outlined individually in the documents below.

Visitors to Elmhurst Nursing Home

Visitors to Alzheimer’s Care Centre

Visitors to Mental Health Services

Virtual Open Day | HCA Recruitment

NOVEMBER 25th & 26th (Wednesday & Thursday)

At Highfield Healthcare, Healthcare Assistants are pivotal members of a caring team whose purpose is to assist people to live to their fullest potential. We are looking for suitable candidates to fill full-time, permanent positions across our services.

What to expect? Log on to learn more about Highfield Healthcare’s history and current service offering. These will take place a various times across both virtual open days.

Those interested in a role as Healthcare Assistant will then be assigned a time-slot for interview via Zoom.

For more information and to register your interest, contact Mairead Boland on

We are also accepting expressions of interest for Registered Psychiatric & General Nurse roles at this time.

APPLY NOW: Clinical Tutor/Registrar in Psychiatry

A role with Highfield Healthcare and the Department of Psychiatry, RCSI.

Deadline: Friday, 6 November

Development and delivery of undergraduate teaching programme in psychiatry in association with senior lecturer and professor of psychiatry, RCSI. Clinical duties in dynamic acute services in  adult psychiatry including day hospital and home treatment services. Opportunities for supervised psychotherapy and research projects.

More more information, click here for the full job description.

Informal inquiries:

Dr Miriam Kennedy
01 886 5466


Professor Vincent Russell
01 809 3756

Interested Parties:

Ms Judy Walsh, Recruitment Executive
 01 402 2442

Visitor Information: Compassionate Visits

REMINDER: Visits are not permitted under Level 3, 4 and 5 of the Living with Covid-19 Framework .

The HPSC have updated their guidance document for visitors to residential care facilities to align with the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19.

We know how vital it is for you to see your loved ones, but we also need to ensure that COVID-19 is not accidentally introduced into our residential care facility, making the safety of all our number one priority. In line with the Living with Covid-19 Five Level Framework published recently, under levels 3,4 and 5, visiting to residential care facilities is not permitted except for compassionate and critical reasons.

We have updated our own visitor protocols and here is a summary of the key points on visiting at each Framework Level:

Protocol for Visitors to the each of our services has been outlined individually in the documents below.

Visitors to Elmhurst Nursing Home

Visitors to Alzheimer’s Care Centre

Visitors to Mental Health Services

Temporary Reduction in Nominated Visitors

On Friday 11th September, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) received correspondence from the Department of Health regarding new public health advices.

As a result of the continued increase in COVID-19 cases, all residential care facilities in Dublin are to reduce the number of visitors to one nominated visitor per resident for a period of three weeks. This situation will be kept under review and any further updates will be notified to families.

We would advise families to discuss amongst themselves as to who the one nominated person will be and ensure that only this person visits once per week. We also ask that visitors wear the provided surgical mask at all times from entering till exiting our facility, observe social distancing by remaining 2 metres away from your loved on and adhere to our infection control practices.

Please note this temporary reduction does not apply if you are visiting for end of life care/palliative purposes and an appropriate risk assessment will be conducted during your visit.

Thank you for your understanding in our attempts to keep the wellbeing of our residents and staff a top priority.

Travelling from Restricted Areas and Countries

In July 2020, the Government released a very limited list of countries (“Green List”) where you can travel from without having to undergo the mandatory restriction of movements. The inclusion of countries on this list is based on the current epidemiological situation and public health information.

More recently, COVID-19 related restrictions has been re-imposed on some Irish counties. This is as a result of an increasing number of cases in these areas.

It is extremely likely that the restrictions of certain counties and countries will continue to change in the coming weeks and months and we ask families to please adhere to local and national guidelines. As a result, we will unfortunately not be allowing anyone into visit loved ones who falls under the following categories:

  • Lives in the following Irish counties (until restrictions are eased):
    • Kildare
    • Laois
    • Offaly
  • Has recently come from a country not on the “Green List” (e.g. USA) and has not completed the mandatory restriction of movements for 14 days preceding their visit to Highfield

Please note this does not apply if you are visiting for end of life care/palliative purposes and an appropriate risk assessment will be conducted during your visit.

For further information, visit and

Thank you for your understanding in our attempts to keep the wellbeing of our residents and staff the priority.  

Re-introduction of Visitors to Highfield

Since the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) publicised their initial guidance on 5 June 2020 for relaxing the visitor restrictions (which has since been revised here), we have been delighted to welcome you all back into our services.   

Elmhurst Nursing Home was the first part of the organisation that re-opened its doors on 15 June, with the Alzheimer’s Care Centre following on 30 June and our Mental Health Services re-opening with a phased approach from 7 July and onwards.

So far, visits have been a success and we have been privileged to witness an array of emotional reunions between family members. The pictures below show an example of a visitor room where you have been seeing your loved ones. These rooms are currently the best location for visits as they are aired and cleaned after each booking.

Our visitor protocols have been texted out to all families over the last few weeks which included important information to note when entering the organisation and how to book. If you have any difficulties with making a booking then please contact the identified personnel stated in the relevant protocol:

Alzheimer’s Care Centre: Visitor Protocol

Elmhurst Nursing Home: Visitor Protocol

Mental Health Services: Visitor Protocol

We would like to thank all who have provided their feedback as it continues to help us iron out any issues and shape this entirely new process. There may well be challenges in the coming weeks and months but everyone at Highfield will ensure that the health and safety of our residents, staff and visitors will be maintained. 

Please be aware that the HPSC may revise their guidance without notice to ensure it is in line with how the COVID-19 virus affects the community and the nation. Highfield will then take heed of any revisions, examine the information, and update our protocols and our families in due course.

A Daughter’s Reflection

Dr Miriam Kennedy is a Consultant Psychiatrist here at Highfield Healthcare, working with our Mental Health Services. Recently she shared her personal experience with dementia and caring for her elderly parents with Irish Times Health+.

In this article, Dr Miriam recalls her and her sister’s experience of finding the right nursing home for their mother – “who had developed symptoms which we later found out were part and parcel of a dementia.”

Below is an excerpt from the piece, where Dr Miriam explains what a nursing home meant to her family.

A nursing home is not a hospital.

It is not a residence.

It is an extension of your own family home . . . where you entrust your loved one to a home. It must be somewhat homely. Yes, the hygiene was good, yes the food was good, but more importantly, we could visit any time. My father could go every day, and even at Christmas, if she could not come to us, then he could spend Christmas dinner with them. We were welcomed.”

In the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, the distance that families must endure away from their loved ones, is a struggle we are very familiar with here at Highfield Healthcare, and we couldn’t be more grateful to the families and friends of our residents for doing what they can to protect the most vulnerable in our society. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to every husband, wife, son, daughter, grandchild, friend, loved one – you have supported us in this extremely difficult time, and helped keep everyone safe by maintaining your (physical) distance.

As we head towards a return to somewhat normality, we are eager to reunite families but are also incredibly conscious that the health and wellbeing of our residents is paramount. We will continue to contact all families regarding any changes to visiting restrictions and look forward to the day when we can all be together again.

Read Dr Miriam’s full article on the Irish Times website – here.


Visitor Restrictions

We are currently closed to visitors except for end of life/palliative reasons.

****As per recent government guidelines, please do not travel into Highfield Healthcare if you are coming directly from countries not on the government's travel green list (and have not completed the mandatory restriction of movements for a 14 day period) as unfortunately you will not be allowed entry into the building.****

At Highfield Healthcare, the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, patients, staff, volunteers and visitors is of paramount importance to us.  In line with government guidelines on easing visitor restrictions to residential care facilities, we are regularly updating our plans for all services and will keep families updated with any progress as to when you can visit your loved ones.

Please note we are unable to accommodate any unplanned visits.

For any general queries, please contact our Family Support Line on 01 8865449.

Communication with Residents

In line with guidance provided by NHI, we have set up access for face-to-face calls in order to facilitate communication through a screen during periods of restrictions.

Click here for more information.