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Connacht Tribune

UHG Family Room provides precious respite for relatives

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The mother of a young Galway man currently undergoing treatment for cancer has spoken of how the newly opened Family Room at UHG had become her home away from home.

The room is on the Corrib Ward, the dedicated oncology ward which opened in the new 75-bed hospital block last year.

It is the second such facility to be funded by Cancer Care West, providing a peaceful haven where families of patients with cancer can rest, relax, meet with friends and medical staff and if necessary, stay overnight.

Carmel Kelly, from Gort, whose 21 year old son is a patient on the Corrib Ward said she had been using the Family Room for the last eight weeks since her son was admitted.

“The minute I was shown the room, I was overwhelmed with emotions,” she said.

“I have used this room every day and night where we have sat, talked, cried, had the tea and coffee, heated food and even slept. It’s my safe haven; it’s my home from home,” she said.

Mrs Kelly was speaking at the official opening of the Family Room last week, where Cancer Care West CEO Richie Flaherty said that the facility aims to ‘provide a place of comfort and restfulness for those coping with the stresses and trauma of seeing a family member being treated for cancer in a hospital that might be many miles away from home’.

“We know that in the past relatives of cancer patients, especially parents of young children who were receiving treatment, had to sit on chairs in crowded wards or in corridors for days and nights at a time which was far from ideal,” he said.

“We have long recognised the need for such a space and the feedback already from staff in the ward is that it is being heavily used and a vital addition to the facilities offered to families,” he added.

The furnishings, which were tailor-made for the room, include leather reclining seats, tables, a pull-out couch along with a fridge, microwave and tea\coffee making facilities.

UHG General Manager Chris Kane said that the provision of the second room was largely down to the hugely positive feedback from families to the similar facility on the Claddagh Ward.

“This new family room makes a huge difference to families, particularly those who have to travel distances or whose loved ones are facing a long hospital stay. We are very appreciative of the on-going support from Cancer Care West,” she said.

Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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