The funding has been welcomed locally
Funding has been announced to develop a dementia friendly garden at St Gabriel's Ward at St Canice's Hospital in Kilkenny.
The project is one of 20 across the country to have successfully secured funding from this year’s call for ideas under the Public Service Innovation Fund.
The fund, which was established in 2019, is a competition designed to support innovative ideas from public service bodies to promote collaboration and new and better approaches to service delivery.
This year’s call saw a total of 279 project proposals received from organisations in all sectors of the Public Service - Civil Service, Defence Forces, Education Sector, Health Sector, Local Government, Justice Sector and Non-Commercial State Agencies.
Kilkenny/Carlow Mental Health Services is to receive funding of €25,000 for the development of a new 'Dementia Friendly Garden.'
Welcoming the news, Deputy John McGuinness said, "this is very positive news for mental health services in Kilkenny and Carlow as many people will greatly benefit from such a good idea.
"Many people that avail of the mental health services at St Canices Hospital suffer from issues relative to dementia and due to the fact that many of them are from country areas, they are happy to be outdoors enjoying nature. So this new garden development will be very beneficial to them."
Chairman of Kilkenny County Council, Andrew McGuinness, said "I'm delighted to hear this good news today and welcome it wholeheartedly as it will bring great joy to many people who avail of mental health services.
Announcing the results, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, said:
“The public service needs to be innovative and agile to effectively respond to the many challenges it faces. We’ve witnessed the enormous innovative capacity of our public service organisations in dealing with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year. This innovation needs to be encouraged and sustained beyond the crisis to ensure Ireland and its citizens thrive into the future.
“We need our public service to collaborate with the entire innovation ecosystem including academia and industry to solve some of the more intricate problems we face. We need to embrace enhanced ways of working by adopting new and emerging technologies that will help us design and deliver better and more efficient services for the public. Importantly, we must include people at the centre of our service design to ensure better user outcomes."
St Gabriel’s ward in St Canice’s Hospital is an assessment ward for people with severe psychological and behavioural disturbance secondary to dementia. Most of the recognized treatments are non-pharmacological and given many of their patients grew up in the country and get huge pleasure from pottering in the garden and the project leads believe nature is a key intervention.
The funding will be used to create a dementia friendly garden for the patients and their families. The garden will have dementia friendly and multisensory plants, raised planters, easy grip tools and heavy furniture to support leaning that would enable people to be more independent in the garden environment.
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