Cork-Kerry Site Visit

The Irish ValueCare pilot team at University College Dublin (UCD) were delighted to welcome lead project partners, Erasmus Medical Centre and ISRAA, to visit their site in July. In Ireland, the ValueCare Project aims to test a value-based integrated care supportive app amongst older citizens living with mild or moderate levels frailty that features a wellness plan to promote healthy lifestyle, a motivational virtual coach and tailored care plans made by their community-based healthcare providers. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the HSE’s Integrated Care Programme for Older People (ICPOP), whereby participants will be recruited from the innovative community-based and geriatrician-led multidisciplinary care hubs for older people.

The site visit commenced on July 13th with a meeting in UCD’s School of Medicine on July 13th. The visit kicked off with a presentation from Professor Áine Carroll about the history of UCD and how healthcare is provided in Ireland. The Associate Dean for Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Peter Doran, gave an insightful presentation regarding the current innovations and future vision for research within the university. Dr Andrew Darley presented on the progress of ValueCare in Ireland and its implementation into clinical practice and recruitment plans for the upcoming months. After the meeting, the team travelled to Cork city for the clinical site visit the next day. The team explored Cork city where one of the pilot sites is based and the evening was topped off by some traditional Irish dancing!

On July 14th, the project partners visited the Cork ICPOP South Hub based in St Finbarr’s Hospital. The team were met by key leaders of the service including Consultant Geriatrician, Dr Bart Daly, and Older Persons Co-Ordinator, Finola Cronin. The group were brought on a guided tour of the Hub and the multidisciplinary services and comprehensive assessments they provide. The ValueCare project partners took the opportunity to discuss the implementation process with several  team members and gather their views on providing integrated care with the support of digital health technology in their practice.

The site visit closed with a special National ValueCare Steering Group Meeting, a committee dedicated to guiding the project featuring ICPOP, Age Friendly Ireland, University College Cork and the HSE’s Department of Digital Transformation. This was a hybrid meeting in which colleagues from the Kerry pilot site, including ICPOP Project Lead Paudie McQuinn and Older Persons Co-Ordinator Kathleen O’Donoghue, as well as the ValueCare pilot site co-ordinator Vanja Vasiljev based in MEDRI. This meeting featured engaging discussions about how integrated care for older people is provided in Ireland and what we can learn from each other, based on our individual health and social care contexts across Europe.

Overall, it was a very successful and informative visit in which the lead ValueCare project partners were able to view the setting in which the pilot is being conducted in Ireland, as well as make connections with the leaders in integrated care for older people in Ireland for potential future collaborations.

By Dr Andrew Darley, University College Dublin