St Columba’s dementia unit marks 20 years

Residents, families and staff (past and present) gathered together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of the dementia unit in St Columba’s Hospital.

Residents, families and staff (past and present) gathered together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the opening of the dementia unit in St Columba’s Hospital.

St Mary’s is the only dementia-specific unit in Kilkenny and it has 18 continuing care beds and two respite beds. Mass was celebrated by Fr Bollard on the ward with all present and lovely cakes, sandwiches and buns were provided for refreshments afterwards.

There was a great turnout from families and carers who are good supporters of the monthly coffee mornings on the ward. Staff from the present and the past were well represented and director of nursing Georgina Bassett welcomed all and commended the staff for their vision through the years and a special mention was made of Joan McDonald and Terri Butler, clinical nurse managers, for the advances in more recent years. Dr Paul Magnier also acknowledged the contribution of the staff towards creating a homely and happy atmosphere on the ward.

The dementia care team in the hospital has made great strides in recent times and hopes to launch formally in the new year the new Kilkenny memory clinic currently being set up in the hospital in conjunction with consultant geriatricians in St Luke’s Hospital.

All new developments are intended to enhance the services for people with dementia in the community and in care settings and the hospital has close links with the Psychiatry of Old Age Team in mental health services. Plans are afoot to further extend the coffee morning service in the hospital to people with dementia and their families in the community in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Day Centre in Kilkenny.