Winter Wellness Campaign launched
HSE Midlands supporting you to Keep Well this winter
HSE Community and Hospital services are calling on people to keep well this winter as part of their annual winter wellness campaign which begins on Midlands 103 this week. Winter can be challenging time for people with many illnesses circulating. This year the Covid pandemic provides another real worry for people and for their health needs. Emergency services remain open and available and key health protection and preventative information is being made available by the HSE in a Winter Wellness booklet distributed to every house in Ireland.
The Midlands Winter Wellness campaign is led by health experts working across community and hospital services and includes advice and guidance on nutrition, physical and mental wellbeing, managing chronic conditions at home and information for those who may need to attend emergency services. It also includes keeping safe messages from Public Health in the Midlands who advise us all that ‘Every Contact Counts’ this season and appeals to our community to stay safe and limit social interactions so we can maintain the low levels of Covid in our Community. It also recognises the need to provide emotional and physical wellness advice and guidance for the community and principal Psychology Manager for the Laois and Offaly, Eddie Murphy has offered his voice and support to the campaign. The campaign also incorporates Christmas and New Year messages of thanks and hope from frontline teams.
Anna Moore, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore said, “Every year we prepare for, what can be a very predictable winter period. Traditionally, this involves increased presentations to GPs and Emergency Departments. We know that more illness and virus circulate. This year with Covid-19, it is very different. Key behaviours such as hand hygiene and physical distancing are potentially reducing the spread of common illnesses. It is crucially important to remind people, that our hospital services are open and here for people, so please do not delay in seeking medical attention, particularly if you suspect stroke or heart attack. Separately, we know there are many illnesses and conditions that can be safely managed at home and this campaign is focused on using our frontline experts to deliver health advice and guidance. Covid -19 has been very challenging but we are turning a corner with a vaccine on our horizon. Thank you to all our staff and those on the frontline. You have been extraordinary in a very challenging time for health services.”
Dr. Una Fallon, Director of Public Health for the Midlands said, “It is crucial that we remain vigilant when it comes to COVID-19. We are supporting the winter wellness campaign as we believe that by using our local voice, we can encourage our community to continue to work with us to overcome this virus. Covid-19 prevention measures, such as hand hygiene, distancing and using face coverings, will also help to protect us all from a range of winter illnesses, including the medically vulnerable. We recognise that people may feel tired but now is not the time to become complacent because Covid-19 is still circulating in the community and it will be many months before we notice the impact of the vaccine. While we have been given choices by the Government with the move to phase 3 and fewer restrictions, we can now see the number of cases increasing once again so now is not the time to ease up. We need to remain careful and continue to observe public health measures until we can vaccinate a significant proportion of the population Our appeal in this campaign is for people to please remember – just this Christmas – Covid-19 has not gone away. None of us want an avoidable tragedy in our family. When you are planning your Christmas, try to avoid indoor gatherings especially ones where alcohol will be offered. If you are meeting indoors, keep the room well ventilated. Consider meeting outdoors or on-line. We know this is not easy but we are asking people to stay the course for another few months.”
Key advice from Public Health to StaySafe this Christmas;• Enjoy the Christmas preparations and remember to wear a mask in shops and when out and about on busy streets. Keep at least two metres distance between you and others at all times. • When eating out, remember to remain seated at your allocated table – mixing with other tables risks the spread of Covid-19. Follow the advice given by the staff – they are trying to keep you, themselves and their families safe.• Don’t bring Covid-19 shopping or visiting this Christmas! If you feel unwell, stay at home and contact your GP. • Don’t forget the basics – wash or sanitise your hands regularly and encourage children to do the same – good hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of all sorts of infectious diseases; cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow; don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.• Every contact counts, so plan ahead for Christmas and limit your close contacts in the weeks coming up to it. This is especially important if you are planning to meet with vulnerable family members over Christmas.• Going to other houses will be different this year – it will be important to ring ahead to make sure everyone is well and that it is okay to visit.• Give me my space! Physical distancing is important – try to allow extra space between people at the dinner table and when dinner is over, try to keep two metres distance between each person.• Air the room! Wherever people are gathered indoors, make sure the space is well ventilated by keeping windows and doors open (where possible).• Enjoy the great outdoors! Wrap up snuggly and enjoy time with family outdoors – it is safer to meet outdoors than indoors at the moment and it is easier to keep physical distancing.
Fiona Murphy, Health & Wellbeing CHO 8 said, “Your health is so important and we are here to support you providing health information to support you to know where to go if you require health services, whether in the community or in our hospitals. With this initiative we want to reinforce key messages to help people stay well and informed. We were delighted to have our community nutritionists, dietitians and physical activity coordinators to talk to the importance of minding your physical and emotional wellbeing.” Sarah McBride, Chief Officer Midlands Louth and Meath said, “Our winter wellness campaign is focused on bringing advice and guidance to our community, encouraging people to be prepared for the winter. This year, Covid-19 is very much our primary concern so supporting people who are well to stay well is crucial for our health services. Please stay safe this Christmas and support our frontline teams by staying well.” “I would like to acknowledge the work and dedication of all our staff. It has been a very difficult and demanding year. To our health professionals who have volunteered their voices and their advice, thank you very much. This campaign is truly made by our frontline across the Midlands. We wish you all a Happy and Healthy Christmas and New Year”
The first set of experts for the winter wellness campaign include; · Dr Una Fallon, Director for Public Health in the Midlands · Annemarie Benson – Senior Physiotherapist Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore· Dr . Anna Moore Consultant in Emergency Medicine Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore · Dr Douglas Hamilton Specialist in Public Health Medicine in the Midlands · Dr Gerard Maher Specialist in Public Health Medicine in the Midlands · Joan Peppard – Chief Pharmacist Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore · Mary McKeown – Dietitian HSE Midlands · Maurice O’Connor Senior Cardiac Physiologist Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore · Siobhan Hourigan HSE Health & Wellbeing Midlands · Anne marie O’Shea Candidate Advanced Nurse Practitioner Respiratory, Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise · Amy Gothiar Dietitian Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise · Ann Reamsbottom Receptionist Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise · Dr. Ann Herlihy Specialist Registrar in Public Health Medicine · Dr. Fiona McGuire, Senior Medical Officer · Michelle Connolly – Health Protection Nurse Specialist in Dept Public Health for Midlands · Dr Ina Kelly Consultant in Public Health Medicine for the Midlands · Kate O’Connell Speech & Language Therapist Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore · Therese Fitzpatrick Senior Vascular Physiologist Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore · Leona Cremin Dietitian Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore · Sean Johnston Clinical Director Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore