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.

Thanks a Million!

Over the past few months, we have seen communities banding together in the joint effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at Highfield Healthcare, we have felt the incredible support from local businesses and organisation, who have taken the time to acknowledge and honour the efforts of our amazing frontline staff.

Food Glorious Food

The Comet Bar in Santry for delivered free pizza, The Greenhouse chefs’ project delivered 2 course meals to our staff working in our isolation units and Krispy Kreme in Blanchardstown donated dozens of donuts to keep our staff full.

The Gift of Giving

We have been blown away with the many generous donations of gifts for our frontline staff from a number of very generous businesses. Thank you to Butler’s Chocolates, Dunnes Stores, Advanced Vending, Spotlight Oral Care and Cosmetics Online for thinking of our frontline staff and showing them the appreciation they deserve.

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We would like to wholeheartedly thank you all for your incredible donations and gifts. You have helped keep our frontline staff smiling through one of the most difficult times any of us have ever faced.

Cooking Up Kindness

To support their local community during the Covid-19 crisis Redmond Fine Foods have joined forces with the very talented chefs Mickael Viljanen, Mark Moriarty and Paddy Lee (formerly) of The Greenhouse restaurant on Dawson Street, Dublin.

The Greenhouse chefs’ project will see the team cooking at least 200 meals a day to be distributed to front-line workers.

Highfield Healthcare staff working in our isolation units were delighted to receive their first delivery on 21st April, which was shared out across both day and night shifts.

The group launched a GoFundMe page to finance the not-for-profit project, and are hoping to raise enough money to keep the project going as long as is needed. If you are able to donate, please visit – https://www.gofundme.com/f/covid-19-meal-support-for-emergency-responders

Read more about this project here: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/coronavirus-michelin-starred-chefs-dish-out-meals-for-front-line-workers-1.4223115

Connecting with ‘Comfort Words’

On Monday, March 23rd, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) announced a brand new initiative to combat the effects that social distancing can have on both older people and young children.

Comfort Words is a national initiative encouraging children to reach out to older people in nursing homes during Covid-19.

Comfort Words is encouraging children to support older people during this difficult time by writing to them. With almost 30,000 people across the country in nursing home care, NHI believes children can fulfil an important role in promoting positivity amongst residents and maintaining contacts in the weeks ahead by connecting with them.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, explained “Comfort Words does not have to be unique to older people in nursing homes and can also be replicated for older people living in the community. We would also encourage people to utilise the free postcards being provided by An Post for connection with residents in nursing homes.”

As proud NHI members, Highfield Healthcare would welcome any messages for our wonderful residents. Below you will find the addresses for our three care of the elderly services;

Elmhurst Nursing HomeAlzheimer’s Care CentreHighfield Hospital
Hampstead Avenue,
Off Ballymun Road,
Glasnevin, Dublin 9,
D09 XNV2
Highfield Healthcare,
Swords Rd,
Whitehall,
Dublin 9,
D09 H343
Highfield Healthcare,
Swords Rd,
Whitehall,
Dublin 9,
D09 H343

Please address your letters using ‘C/O Comfort Words’ so that we can easily distribute them among our residents – thank you.

10 Tips to Reduce COVID-19 Anxiety

At the moment, the world has found itself in an unprecedented situation. It is completely understandable to feel worried and anxious in this time of uncertainty. If you feel like it is all getting a bit much for you, here are some tips for reducing your COVID-19 anxiety.

ONE: Focus on things you can control, such as your thoughts and behaviours.

TWO: Keep the big picture in mind. Humankind will survive this.

THREE: Remember that the size of the news coverage may not equal the size of a threat.

FOUR: Let wisdom and logic guide you.

FIVE: Turn to reputable sources for your news.

SIX: Control how often you check the latest news.

SEVEN: Model peaceful behaviour for those around you.

EIGHT: Evaluate your own health behaviours and be a model for others, including children.

NINE: Feeling too isolated? Maintain digital connections with people.

TEN: Don’t let fear influence your decisions, such as hoarding supplies.

Communication with Residents During Visitor Restrictions | COVID-19

Communication with Residents

In line with guidance provided by NHI, we are currently working on setting up access for face-to-face calls through the following applications in order to facilitate communication through a screen during periods of restrictions:

  • FaceTime  (supported on Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad/Mac devices only)
  • Skype  (supported by a web version, and apps on Android and iOS smartphones and Windows and macOS computers)

Roll out of these apps will commence on Thursday 12 March 2020, with a view to implementation by the weekend. A further update will be provided once this is in full operation.

To avail of this new feature, please ring us in advance and staff on the unit will be able to schedule and discuss with you and answer any questions.

Visitor Restrictions Now in Place | COVID-19

Visitor Restrictions as Recommended by HSE and Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI)

For the protection of our residents, visiting restrictions are now in place in Highfield Healthcare.

No visitors, children or groups are allowed effective immediately. 

All visitors are asked to contact prior to attending. We urge prospective visitors to be cognisant and understanding of the measure that is required in the interest of resident and staff safety. Older people and people in nursing homes with pre-existing medical conditions are particularly vulnerable if they contract the virus. The virus presents an unprecedented situation for our services and the care provided within them. Highfield is imposing the visitor restrictions in the best interests of residents and staff. We thank people for their understanding and patience during this period of unprecedented challenges presented by Covid19. 

Highfield is monitoring the evolving situation on an ongoing basis and is in continuous contact with the Department of Health, National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), HSE, NHI and all relevant health authorities. 

COVID-19 Coronavirus Contingency Measures

2nd March 2020

At Highfield Healthcare, the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, patients, staff, volunteers and visitors is of paramount importance to us. We are therefore preparing contingency measures against the potential spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Highfield Healthcare has over 300 beds, 30 day hospital places, and scores of people attending our outpatient department on a daily basis.

Therefore, if over the last 14 days, you have been in any of the affected areas identified by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and feel unwell or are displaying any symptoms such as a cough, high temperature, or shortness of breath, we would ask that you please avoid visiting our services to protect against the spread of the infection.

This request applies to:

  • Families/friends visiting elderly relatives in our nursing homes
  • Service users attending outpatient appointments in our OPD
  • Service users attending our mental health day hospital
  • Visitors of inpatient service users of our Hampstead Clinic.
  • Contractors coming on-site to carry out work.

At all times, our team take every necessary precaution to best protect the health and safety of all who come through our doors.

The HSE regularly updates its list of affected areas, which can be found here. We are advising service users and visitors to check this list regularly for any changes or additions, and for more information and updates on the coronavirus, areas affected by it and what to do if you think you might have had contact with it.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

T2C Virtual Dementia Tour

Over the first two weeks in February, Highfield Healthcare were delighted to welcome Training 2 Care UK Ltd to provide an incredible training experience for our staff, volunteers and families.

The Virtual Dementia Tour is a scientifically and medically proven method of giving a person with a healthy brain the chance to experience what dementia might be like. Each session allows participants to enter the world of the person and understand which simple changes need to be made to their practice and environment to really improve lives of people with dementia.

Invented 25 years ago in America by Professor PK Beville and owned by Second Wind Dreams, Training 2 CARE are UK partners providing training across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.  The Virtual Dementia Tour has now been proven during research produced by Ulster University to change practice within 95% of participants, improve knowledge in 97% of participants and improve outcomes for 100% of clients.

Aware Life Skills Programme | February 2020

From the third of February, Highfield Healthcare will host the Aware Life Skills Programme for the second time. Based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the Life Skills Programmes are designed to help people learn more about how we think and how this can influence our actions in helpful or unhelpful ways.

The Life Skills Group Programme is delivered over the course of six weeks in 90 minute evening sessions, and is to be a proven useful resource for anyone who is experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety.

We are incredibly grateful to the Dublin-Fingal Rotary Club, who have kindly funded these sessions to ensure it is accessible to everyone in the community.

The Life Skills Programme will take place on  Monday evening in the Hampstead Clinic Day Hospital and is open to people of all ages and backgrounds.

For more information on this programme visit www.aware.ie.

IMPORTANT NOTICE | COVID-19

Visitor Restrictions

****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 details regarding visiting your loved ones.

Please continue to  follow hand hygiene and wearing of  masks while on our premises.

For any general queries, please contact us on 01 8374444.