Bed push raised vital funds for cystic fibrosis charity

Funds raised from a charity bed push in the city will be used to improve facilities at University Hospital Galway for people with cystic fibrosis.

Members of the ARAMARK healthcare team at the hospital organised the recent event which kicked off at UHG and finished at Merlin Park Hospital.

The money raised for the Galway Cystic Fibrosis Hospital Project will be used to fund a number of projects, including isolation en suite facilities to reduce the risk of cross infection in cystic fibrosis patients.

The special guests on the day were the 2010 Rose of Tralee Claire Kambamettu and local Minister of State Ciaran Cannon.

He praised the Galway CF Hospital Project for its tireless efforts in recent years to improve facilities for patients in the region.

“ I would like to take this opportunity to thank the group for all their hard work and wish them well in the future.”

Mary Lane Heneghan, the chairperson of Galway Cystic Fibrosis Association, thanked ARAMARK UHG for nominating Galway Cystic Fibrosis as its charity for the year.

“The money will be used to improve hospital facilities at University Hospital Galway for people with CF including isolation en suite facilities so as to reduce the risk of cross infection in cystic fibrosis patients.

“The availability of proper medical care and facilities will help to improve the life expectancy and quality of life for people living with cystic fibrosis.”

The Galway Cystic Fibrosis Hospital Project is one of ARAMARK’s - which provides clinical support services - nominated charities for 2011 and to date it raised more than €2,500.

Ireland has the highest incidence of cystic fibrosis in the world, with one in 20 people carrying the gene. Where two carriers parent a child there is a one in four chance of the baby being born with the condition. CF carriers are healthy and totally unaware that they are carriers until they have a child with CF.

The disease affects the glands, damaging many organs including the lungs, the pancreas and the digestive system. About 1,200 people in this country have the condition. More than 60 from Galway, Mayo and Roscommon attend Galway University Hospitals - half of these are adults. The number of sufferers are increasing with improvements in care.

There are three specialised in-patient rooms for patients at University Hospital Galway. These are single en suite rooms with climate control and air filtering systems to reduce the risk of cross infection. Additional in-patient facilities are also available at Merlin Park University Hospital.

Treatment is intensive and people with CF have a daily routine of drugs, enzymes, physiotherapy, exercise and a high fat diet. Oral, inhaled and intravenous antibiotics are crucial for controlling recurring chest infections. High-energy foods supplemented by enzymes combat digestive problems while physiotherapy and exercise are important for fitness and for keeping the lungs clear.

“For a considerable number of CF patients a lung transplant is often the only remaining option,” says Ms Lane Heneghan. “While therapeutic options have expanded in recent years, life expectancy and quality of life for people with CF can be significantly improved through a lung transplant.

“Now that the Mater Hospital’s lung transplant unit in Dublin is up and running we expect to see an increase in the number of CF patients receiving lung transplants. Welcome news was the recent announcement of the approval of a dedicated lung transplant surgeon there. This will mean that persons requiring a lung transplant will no longer have to travel to Newcastle in the UK.”

She says the life expectancy and quality of life for people with CF improves in direct proportion to the availability of proper medical care and facilities.

“The Galway Branch of the CF Association are continually fundraising to provide the basic facilities for the 60 plus patients with CF in the Galway area who attend UHG. It is critical that cystic fibrosis patients be treated in single rooms with en suite facilities as the lack of segregation and isolation facilities poses a significant risk of cross-infection by virulent organisms.

“Galway was one of the first hospitals outside of Dublin to get dedicated facilities for persons with CF. In September 2009 three single en suite rooms were opened in St Anthony’s Ward for adults (over 16s ) which cost over €300,000, paid for out of voluntary contributions. CF Galway also funded a lung function laboratory and other medical equipment in UHG.”

She says the Galway branch’s top three priorities are improved isolation en suite facilities at UHG, the provision of additional specialist medical staff, and necessary medical equipment for patients.

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