Castlebar woman Sheila Caulfield, has been shortlisted for a national award for her work to help people understand a test which could save their lives by detecting bowel cancer at an early stage.
Ms Caulfied works in the National Bowel Screening Programme. Her place on the awards shortlist has won her national recognition for her outstanding efforts to communicate with patients in a crystal clear way. Sheila was shortlisted for the Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy Award for her work on the initiative BowelScreen Home Test Instructions. She was shortlisted in the category Best Health Promotion Project. Ms Caulfield has now been invited to attend the Crystal Clear MSD Health Literacy Awards event in Dublin on Thursday, May 15. The National Bowel Screening Programme offers free screening, using a home test, to men and women aged 60 to 69 years. Bowel cancer is the second most common newly-diagnosed cancer in Ireland, with over 2,000 new cases each year and the risk increases with age. As a new screening programme, with limited promotion, many people are unaware of the bowel screen home test and the importance of regular screening in early detection, when bowel cancer is easier to treat. The instructions for the test were developed in partnership with the National Adult Literacy Agency. A suite of brochures, website and freephone number with trained call-centre staff support communication were also provided. Now in its seventh year, the Crystal Clear awards have received a firm increase in entries year on year with over 131 entries received this year across the healthcare sector from GPs, nurses, practice managers, physiotherapist and journalists. Speaking about the shortlisted projects, Ms Ciara O’Rourke, awards judge, said: “Yet again we have seen a strong level of interest and some really innovative ideas. It’s so encouraging to see how health literacy is being effectively applied to frontline services to support and empower patients and service users.”