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Diet and exercise programme generates big benefits

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A Galway programme focusing on diet and exercise which aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes has been found to generate benefits worth eight times what it costs to run.

A report launched to mark World Heart Day today by the National Institute for Preventive Cardiology states that the Croí programme points to how the health service could be reshaped to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.

The Croí MyAction Programme operating for the past five years at the charity’s base in Newcastle in the city has treated 617 high risk individuals and their partners.

Malachy Matthew: suffered a mini stroke.

Malachy Matthew: suffered a mini stroke.

An independent health economic evaluation funded by Healthy Ireland has found that every €1 invested, an average €8 is generated in benefits. So far €700,000 has been spent on delivering the 12-16 week intervention programme for free to those who most need it.

This has yielded benefits of €4.8m due to a variety of health changes.

Among them a smoking quit rate of 51%, which results in a halving of cardiac events; greater adherence to the ‘Mediterranean Diet’; an increase in physical activity targets from 13% to 52%, which reduces cardiac events by nearly a third; an average weight reduction of over eight pounds; and healthier blood pressure and cholesterol readings.

Croi’s Director of Prevention Programmes, Irene Gibson, said the report demonstrates for the first time in Ireland that prevention does work. Investing in prevention can deliver economic as well as health gains.

“With adequate investment, we could move from a reactive service which is overly reliant on acute hospital care and expensive cardiac procedures to a more proactive preventive model utilising community programmes as a third tier of healthcare,” she explained.

“The Croí programme is an excellent demonstration of how best practice guidelines can be translated into everyday clinical practice. Empowering people through an individualised approach to behaviour and lifestyle change is the key.

“However, there is a huge training need among healthcare professionals to equip them with the skills necessary to support and facilitate often complex lifestyle and behaviour change.”

The Croí prevention programme involves specialist nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists and physicians engaging in an intensive lifestyle and risk factor reduction programme where all patients and an accompanying family member are assessed at the start of the programme, on programme completion and again at one year.

Advocates: brothers Albert and Robert O'Reilly.

Advocates: brothers Albert and Robert O’Reilly.

The Galway programme was recently selected as Ireland’s model of best practice in chronic disease management and recommended to CHRODIS, a European body that aims to promote good practice in chronic disease management across Europe.

The analysis found there was an 88% uptake, which remained at 86% a year on.

The HSE West Galway Primary Community and Continuing Care had committed to funding a Croí MyAction pilot programme for three years, however it was discontinued early in year two due to budget constraints.

Since then the programme has been funded entirely by Croí through its fundraising activities and philanthropic support. The cost per participant is €1,169.

Connacht Tribune

School walkway remembers much-loved member of staff

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Minister Frank Feighan with Lucy Daly's family at the opening of Lucy’s Way (from left) Lucy's father Jackie O'Shea, her sons Niall and Aaron Daly, and her mum Florrie O’Shea.

A Galway school unveiled its new sensory walkway as a lasting memorial to its much-loved secretary who passed away earlier this year.

Lucy’s Way at Esker National School is named after Lucy Daly, and fittingly her sons Niall and Aaron were on hand to cut the ribbon with Junior Minister for Health, Frank Feighan, recently.

The Minister was at the Athenry school to also officially open the school’s new Outdoor Classroom and Sensory Gardens, as well as the Walkway – just as summer begins to bloom.

Also in attendance also were the Bishop of Galway and Michael Duignan; Monsignor Cathal Geraghty; Karen Cotter from Active School Flag, Andrew McBride from Healthy Ireland and Karen Colcannon representing Galway Sports Partnership.

The work was completed in a voluntary capacity by parents of the school, the local Rural Social Scheme and staff members with the support of school management.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

No room in the city – so college students told to look at Tuam or Athenry

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NUIG...accommodation advice.

Students coming to NUIG this September have been advised by the college to check out their accommodation options… as far away as Tuam, Oughterard, An Spidéal or Athenry.

Unfortunately, that is likely to prove as fruitless as searching for a flat in the city, because those involved in the rental sector say that there is very little available around the county either.

A trawl through accommodation websites reveals an extremely limited supply of rental properties across the county – particularly when it comes to those suitable for students.

And even when there is availability, you won’t find a one-bed property for much for less than €1,000 as the dearth of rental accommodation has resulted in owners demanding close to city prices.

Tuam auctioneer Michael Mannion said that there are very few properties to be had, and the vast majority of those that come to the market will not suit students.

“We don’t have them at the moment, and it is futile for NUIG suggesting they look at the likes of Tuam – or any other similar-sized town for that matter in the county,” he said.

“There is no problem about accepting students, but the houses and apartments are not there to accommodate them. There is no building going on and while this is the case, there are very few properties up for rent,” Mr Mannion added.

Student accommodation in Galway City averages out at around €1,500 per month which is putting a major financial strain on families.

NUIG recently advised students to consider seeking accommodation in Tuam (22 miles from the college), Oughterard (18 miles), An Spidéal (12 miles), Moycullen (8 miles) or Athenry (15 miles).

The NUIG Students Union described the fact that NUIG is recommending that other areas outside the city as a reflection of the current situation.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Government bows to pressure on rural work schemes

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Minister Heather Humphreys.

SWEEPING reforms to a number of local employment schemes – announced this week by the Government – have allayed fears among West of Ireland communities over the future of thousands of rural jobs.

A six-year time limit for participants in the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) has now been axed by the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys – if that clause had remained, 45 positions in Galway would be cut from February 1 next.

The package of reforms has been warmly welcomed by West of Ireland TDs and public representatives including Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte and East Galway Fine Gael TD, Ciaran Cannon.

“We’ve all worked very had to bring these changes about, and at a time when it’s nearly impossible to get workers, these are common-sense measures which will mean an awful lot to villages, towns and communities across the West of Ireland,” said Anne Rabbitte.

According to Deputy Ciaran Cannon, the abolition of the six-year participation rule in the Rural Social Scheme was one of the central points raised at a huge public meeting in Athenry at the end of May.

“The Minister hopes to effect the abolition of the rule within a very short timeframe thus clearing the way for participants to remain working on the Rural Social Scheme up to retirement age,” said Deputy Cannon.

The reforms – confirmed by both Minister Humphreys and Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday – will apply to the RSS; Tús [a one-year community work placement scheme]; and Community Employment (CE) schemes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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