Tullamore Hospital to promote healthier lifestyles for its staff and patients

It is as part of the 'Healthy Ireland' plan

Damian Moran


Damian Moran



Healthy Tullamore Hospital

Healthy Ireland National Programme Lead Sarah McCormack, Director of Human Resources DMHG, Sonya Shortt, Sinead Geraghty and Anne-Marie Benson MRH Tullamore, CEO DMHG Dr Susan O'Reilly

The Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore has begun the implementation of the Healthy Ireland Implementation Plan 2018 -2020.

The Plan, developed with the Hospital and launched by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) this week, sets out the Group’s three-year road map for improving the physical and mental health of staff, patients and wider public over the coming years. DMHG’s plan follows the roll-out of the national HSE Healthy Ireland Plan, which was published in July 2015.

DMHG’s Healthy Ireland Implementation Plan supports the implementation of the three overarching strategic priorities in that plan. It focuses on reducing the risk factors for chronic disease which puts a high demand on the health services. This plan identifies the key role that the DMHG can play in reducing chronic disease and focuses on prevention and healthy lifestyles. Key tangible actions to reduce these risk factors are identified fortobacco; alcohol; healthy eating and active living; wellbeing and mental health; healthy childhood; and positive ageing.  

DMHG started working on the development of its Healthy Ireland Plan in the autumn of 2016, leading to today’s launch. Already, the group’s hospitals have implemented activities that support healthier lifestyles.  The seven hospitals in the group, including Tullamore Hospital, currently provide services to help patients with smoking cessation, obesity management, physical activity, diabetes care, cardiac rehabilitation, heart failure, respiratory disease and dementia care.

Initiatives to promote health and mental well-being already undertaken or planned by Tullamore Hospital include:

  • A recent seminar held in Tullamore Hospital which explored how art can contribute to patient care. The seminar examined how the practice of art in medical and healthcare environments can humanise and enhance experiences for patients, staff and visitors;
  • To reduce the feelings of claustrophobia often experienced by patients undergoing an MRI, Tullamore Hospital placed LED skylight pictures on the ceilings of the scanner room, the recovery room and some long corridors which have no natural light.
  • A healing garden which includes a variety of plants with healing properties such as lavender and thyme has been opened at Tullamore Hospital. The theme of statuettes included within this environment is “Slow Release of Doves” to symbolise the care received by the healing hands in the hospital.

The ‘Hello My Name Is’ campaign was launched in Tullamore Hospital in 2016 to remind healthcare staff about the importance of introductions in healthcare. More than 1,000 staff signed up to the initiative.

This month the #EndPJparalysis campaign will launch at the hospital. This is a social movement which encourages patients to get up, dressed and moving while in hospital to reduce the risk of increasing dependence and other harms.

A patient focus group is also now active at the hospital. This Group is currently gathering information on patient experiences of therapeutic diets at the hospital.

The Healthy Ireland plan seeks to build on these activities and others that support staff, including developing their capacity to implement the Healthy Ireland actions for themselves, their patients, their families and communities. Priority areas include:

  • Delivering excellent standards of quality in all the Healthy Ireland action areas;
  • Developing integrated care between DMHG hospitals and their communities to ensure Healthy Ireland actions are integrated in patient care pathways;
  • Strengthening Healthy Ireland co-operation and communication between DMHG hospitals;

Dr Susan O’Reilly, CEO of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, said: “Healthy Ireland is a critical initiative in promoting the wellbeing of all our citizens. As a Group with a catchment of over 800,000 people, in addition to the approximately 11,000 staff who work across our hospitals, we have a huge opportunity to empower the people we care for each day to improve their own health and wellbeing. The policies and plans contained within our Implementation Plan will give people the tools to do so.

"Helping our staff to lead healthier lives is also a key focus of our Plan, not least because we strongly believe that those who work in healthcare can effect change by making every contact count.  As a Group we are extremely focused on implementing and achieving the ambitious policies and objectives set out in this Plan. We are confident that we can do so with the participation, support and goodwill of our staff, patient and public alike”, added Dr. O’Reilly.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drug Strategy, Catherine Byrne stated: "We know that the growth of chronic conditions over the coming years point to a problematic and costly future for the health services.  It is essential that these problems are addressed now.

"In order to make health and wellbeing everyone’s responsibility, the health sector, all of you here today, and all your colleagues in the hospitals in the Dublin Midlands Group, have a key role to play in sharing the message of Healthy Ireland."