Official Opening of St. Ita’s Community Hospital Rehabilitation Unit by MINISTER Kathleen Lynch

Minister Kathleen Lynch unveiling the plaque declaring the official opening of the Rehab Unit. DO NOT CROP THIS PHOTOGRAPH. PUT PHOTO OF PLAQUE ALONGSIDE THIS!!!!!

Minister Kathleen Lynch unveiling the plaque declaring the official opening of the Rehab Unit.

Thursday last, 21st January saw the official opening of a new-purpose built Rehabilitation Unit for the people of County Limerick, and Minister Kathleen Lynch travelled to Newcastle West to open the new unit which is part of the St Ita’s Community Hospital campus. The new unit was developed at a cost of €2.5m in a partnership between the HSE and the Friends of St Ita’s. The Friends were supported in their €1.4m contribution by the J P McManus Foundation. The new facility, which replaces the older 14-bed unit, providing rehabilitation with a capacity for 22 beds, allowing room to expand the service into the future.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Lynch TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care, Social Care and Mental Health, said, “I am delighted to officially open the new Rehabilitation Unit in St Ita’s Community Hospital. This new unit provides excellent facilities for the people of County Limerick, and will offer a first class service for patients at a crucial stage of their recovery from illness or trauma. The opening of this new unit builds on the excellent work of St Ita’s Community Hospital in providing public care to our older people over so many years and in so many different ways. I would like to acknowledge the very generous support from the Friends of St Ita’s and cannot emphasise enough the importance of local communities being involved in supporting their own services. This new unit clearly demonstrates what can be achieved through partnership.”

The new Rehabilitation Unit is a single-storey building which comprises eight single and seven two-bed rooms, all with en-suite facilities. The unit also includes a centralised dining/sitting room, nurses’ station as well as office accommodation and utilities.

The design of the new unit and outdoor space is bright, comfortable and modern. The Rehabilitation Unit is well-equipped and accessible for those availing of in-patient rehabilitative ser-vices. Principal contractors for the project were O’Brien’s Builders with O’Connell Mahon appointed as architects. The project was managed by HSE Estates.

Ann McMorrow, Director of Nursing, welcomed the new development, saying, “The o

pening of the new Reha-bilitation Unit at St. Ita’s Community Hospital marks a new phase in the delivery of modern rehabilitative services and complements the many other health services in County Limerick. People can now avail of the excellent rehabilitation service we always had, but in a state of the art, com-fortable setting. ”

Fergus Scanlan, representing the Friends of St Ita’s Community Hospital, commented, “Needless to say the Friends of St Ita’s are thrilled that we have finally reached this point in time which sees this beautiful state-of-the-art facility reaching fruition. It marks the culmination of a five year fundraising campaign, involving many wonderful people, groups, clubs and organisations whose outstanding support and unparalleled generosity has had a major input towards this very successful outcome, of which, we can all be justly proud. And for that, the Friends wish to say a very big thank you to one and all and, in particular, a very special thank you to the great JP McManus, without whose support this fabulous 22 bedded Rehabilitation Unit would not be here today!”

Bernard Gloster, Chief Officer, HSE Mid-West Community Healthcare, said,

“Rehabilitation is extremely important in the care journey for so many and this purpose-built unit has been carefully designed to maximise the effectiveness of the services.  We are very fortunate to continue to have a consultant-led rehabili-tation service in St Ita’s, and I want to commend the work of Dr Margaret O’Connor, Consultant Geriatrician, her team and all of the staff and management of the Community Hospital in all wards for what they do every day of the week.

“In saying thank you to the Friends group, I am aware this opening comes with the retirement of the Chair of the group, Fergus Scanlan, from that role. I want to pay tribute to the generosity of spirit that Fergus and his colleagues have shown in so many ways to St. Ita’s over the years.

“I also want to thank HSE Estates, O’Brien’s Builders and O’Connell Mahon Architects and all who input into this development becoming a reality where 14 people are receiving services today and we have room to expand in the future. I am, as always, grateful to the minister for her time and support to what we are doing here in the mid-west.”