Major boost for mental health services in Waterford with opening of new €25m unit
Mental health services in Waterford are marking a significant move this month with the opening of the new Aidan’s ward at the Waterford Residential Care Centre.
The Waterford Residential Care Centre project was recently completed on a site adjacent to St. Patrick’s Hospital.
The new Aidan’s will comprise of 20 en-suite single bedrooms in purpose built modern accommodation, which will replace a shared model for Psychiatry of Later Life residents previously provided at a building located on the grounds of the nearby St. Otteran’s Hospital.
Three further units within the Waterford Residential Care Centre, totalling 80 en-suite single bedrooms, will replace long stay accomodation for the elderly previously housed in wards at the adjacent St Patrick’s Hospital.
The transfer of residents from St. Aidan’s took place on schedule last week. In addition to being a long awaited move to more comfortable surrounds in line with meeting criteria set by the Mental Health Commission, the relocation will also aid clinical management in the context of adhering to current Covid 19 infection control measures.
Construction of the new €25.4 million, 100 bed Residential Care Centre began in early 2018. An equipping/fit-out (commissioning) stage was undertaken earlier this year and operational usage began last week.
An existing protected structure on site was refurbished internally and externally to form a new main entrance and foyer for the Centre. A production kitchen and related community and garden/courtyard spaces feature within the development, external to the wards. A previous convent building on site was demolished as part of the project.
A total of 100 car parking spaces, vehicular set down areas, bicycle parking, landscaping and a new main entrance on St. Patrick’s Way were also part of the project.
Psychiatry of Later Life is a specialist mental health service for people over the age of 65 who haven’t used mental health services before and have been referred by a GP or Consultant. The Psychiatry of Later Life team work in partnership with local GPs, hospitals and other health care and social services.
Speaking about the move, David Heffernan, Head of Service/Mental Health for South East Community Healthcare, said: “The new, state of the art facility is a great achievement in community healthcare in the Waterford area. People will be familiar with the outstanding care given by Assistant Director of Nursing Margaret Reid and her team to residents at the previous St. Aidan’s ward on the grounds of St. Otteran’s.
“It is a massive step forward for Psychiatry of Later Life care and for the residents and families involved to locate to the Waterford Residential Care Centre. In working to meet expectations set by the Mental Health Commission, it has been part of our plans for some time to effect this move.
“The fact that we have been able to complete the move at a difficult time for everyone, bearing in mind that families are currently co-operating with us in a ban on visiting (save in exceptional circumstances), is a tribute the staff – for whom this relocation also makes possible a better service in a more suitable environment.
“We look forward to coming through the current pandemic phase safely, to thereafter fully enjoy what is a new home for our residents and one of the finest facilities of its kind in the country for families of those requiring long stay Psychiatry of Later Life residential care.”
MAIN PHOTO: Nursing and Healthcare Worker staff at the new Aidan’s ward are (from left to right): Godsave, Fiona, Melissa, Liuba, Joanne, Sibéal, Catherine, Ava and Margaret Reid (Asst. Director of Nursing, Waterford Mental Health Services/Aidan’s Ward)