Defining The Future of Complex Care – Today

10th May 2019

As the world turns to celebrate the work and commitment of the nursing community on International Nurse’s Day – this year’s theme of ‘Health for All’, couldn’t be more appropriate. New demands, changing needs and advancing technologies will demand that the profession constantly evolves, to deliver new, smarter solutions. A spirit of progress that is clearly embodied in the work of  forward-thinking leaders in Irish complex care: Advanced Homecare.

Advanced Homecare provides specialised services to children, young adults and families who require support for life-limiting injury, illness or disability, or who require the intervention of medical technology to survive. Its team of  110 nurses works in the community, in their clients’ homes – delivering one-to-one, highly-personalised, individual nursing that takes them right to the heart of families of need.

Multi-Skilled and a Wealth of Experience

One of Advanced Homecare’s strong differentiators is that the company attracts and works with the best quality, experienced and skilled professionals available. “We really do have the best nurses and Nurse Managers, with a wealth of experience in all aspects of our profession,” says Olivia Sinclair, Head of Advanced Homecare.

Having trained as a Paediatric Nurse, Clinical Practice Specialist Cora O’Leary holds a Masters in Nursing, completed her thesis on ‘Caring for Children Technologically-Dependant in the Homecare Setting, and has recently finished her postgraduate studies. Nurse Manager, Michelle Curtin, started her career as a Registered General Nurse but had always believed that community nursing was her calling. She has completed a raft of training in palliative care, rehabilitation and working with people with acquired brain injuries. She has recently completed her post-grad studies in Paediatric Palliative Care and Complex Care, and is going on to begin her Masters. Coming from a different background, Nurse Manager Caroline O’Reilly is a Registered Nurse in Intellectual Disability and has done post-graduate studies in children’s nursing.

“We represent a vast mix of skills and disciplines, but what really unites us and shines through is that our service is nurse-led: it has been developed by nurses for nurses,” says Sinclair. “Our nurses know that we’ve been where they are – we understand the challenges they face, what they need in their day-to-day work, and from their career.”

Combining Clinical Care with Management Expertise

Beyond their nursing experience, all of Advanced Homecare’s Nurse Managers bring with them experience in team management, people skills and business administration. Sinclair explains: “Our Nurse Managers balance hands-on nursing understanding and knowledge with management abilities. For example, one of our Dublin Nurse Managers developed and managed a Patient Advice, Information and Support Unit during her time at a private oncology clinic in London’s Harley Street.  This gave her great experience in terms of understanding the ‘bigger picture’ of every client’s case, developing the skills to identify, support and manage not just the patient, but their family and loved ones too.

“Another Nurse Manager, Sandra Rilley, came to us with four years’ experience as Nurse Manager for Pharmaceutical Support Services, with over 30 nurses reporting in to her. She, and all our Nurse Managers, know how to run and manage effective, smooth-running teams who have what they need to get the job done.” says Sinclair.

Independent But Never Alone

The golden thread of the company’s ‘best there is’ philosophy filters through to the supportive and guiding service Nurse Managers provide for their nurses. Because while Advanced Homecare is a more independent approach to nursing, support and teamwork is never compromised. Nurse Managers are in regular telephone contact with their nurses, and visit them in the family home monthly. Nurses never feel alone – tuning in to their colleagues for advice or to swap notes, while progressive Schwartz Rounds have been introduced as valuable reflective sessions, creating the space to talk, share, off-load, get and give support. As Advanced Homecare Nurse Julie Grennell says: “There’s great camaraderie, a sense of community and of belonging. I feel a part of something that is important and that is changing the way Ireland approaches its nursing needs.”

The Best We Can Be

It’s not surprising then that this willingness to make a difference and truly ‘be the best we can be’ overlaps in the way Advanced Homecare Nurses approach their personal lives. A good work-life balance is supported by the company, and many Nurse Managers and nurses excel, and contribute to their communities, in different ways beyond work. Nurse Manager, Sharon Kelly, works with the Irish Heart Foundation and is a qualified part-time Instructor for local GAA clubs. She takes part in many charity runs, including the Run for Autism, the Irish Heart Foundation 5km run, the Hope and Dream 10 Km run and the Pieta House Mini-Marathon. Sharon is also a member of her local Gospel Choir.

Clinical Practice Specialist, Cora O’Reilly, finds her ‘best’ through mission work, working with Operation Smile to visit developing countries to provide free cleft, lip and palate surgeries, and train nurses in ongoing care. Among the countries Cora has visited are India, Cambodia, Ghana, Congo and Peru – while she also works with the Pilgrimage Trust, to take groups of young people over to Lourdes in the South of France, every Easter.

In the spirit of ‘best’ – Advanced Homecare salutes all nurses this International Nurse’s Day, and thanks each and every one for caring to make the difference.