Health Passport to improve disability care

Aimed at people with intellectual disabilities
  • Deborah Condon

A new Health Passport, which aims to ensure people with intellectual disabilities in the north west receive safer, better care, has been launched by the HSE.

The Health Passport is a document that contains vital information about a person, including personal details, medical history and communication abilities. In the event that someone needs medical care, this easy-to-read document can be given to staff, allowing them to get a clearer picture of the patient.

"The Health Passport contains a number of sections that will provide information about the person. This will help healthcare staff to provide safer, better integrated care that is person-centred and compassionate," explained Dr Siobhan O'Halloran, chief nursing officer with the Department of Health.

According to Dr Gerry Lane, a consultant in emergency medicine at Letterkenny University Hospital, this document will help both staff and patients.

"The benefits of a Health Passport for people with an intellectual disability when accessing acute services are many, including enabling their voice to be heard by frontline healthcare professionals," he commented.

The Health Passport was launched in Letterkenny with the screening of a short film, Mission Possible, which is part of a campaign to raise awareness about the passport. The movie stars Paul Gallen Jnr, a young man with Down syndrome.

"Being involved in the making of the movie to promote the HSE Health Passport has been a wonderful experience for me. This passport allows me to communicate my health needs to staff working in the HSE," he explained.

The Health Passport has been piloted and evaluated for people with intellectual disabilities over the last two years in Letterkenny University Hospital and Sligo University Hospital. This work was carried out by the Nursing and Midwifery Planning and Development Unit (NMPDU) in the north west.

According to the director of this unit, Dr Anne Gallen, who led the work, the Health Passport ‘will truly enable person-centred and compassionate integrated care, as well as driving safer healthcare delivery'.

The HSE Health Passport will be available to people with an intellectual disability within the Saolta University Healthcare Group and the Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1.

The short film, Mission Possible, can be viewed here.

*Pictured is Dr Siobhan O'Halloran, chief nursing officer with the Department of Health and the star of Mission Possible, Paul Gallen Jnr.


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