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Caring for the elderly doesn’t stop at Christmas

SWAH Christmas Carol Service

Ann Keaney is Deputy Sister on Ward 6 and will be among those caring for elderly patients at one of SWAH’s busiest departments this Christmas.
For those spending Christmas in hospital, Dr O’Hare says staff go out of their way to be make it as special as possible.
Sadly, in rural areas like Fermanagh, societal changes mean that many older people don’t have relatives nearby and find themselves in hospital at Christmas time.
“The elderly don’t want to be spending Christmas in hospital but sadly for medical reasons they have to be. We always try to create as festive an atmosphere as possible, provide presents and have open visiting, particularly for those who are with us on a more long-term basis. We also have Carol Services in the lead up to Christmas Day so it’s a very friendly and relaxed time of year as we try to ensure patients are as comfortable as possible. For those elderly people who live alone, they have a bit of company.”
While the doctors and nurses like Ann will be keeping the patients healthy, the catering staff will ensure they don’t go hungry by going above and beyond expectations to ensure both staff and patients get a freshly cooked and tasty meal on the big day.
“The catering staff do an excellent job, giving everyone a full Christmas dinner. It is nice for the families to visit and they have crackers so it’s as homely as we can make it. We have open visiting here anyway but we allow families to come and go. Anyone who is able to leave hospital for a few hours can spend time with relatives and friends. It’s always a balancing act between creating a festive atmosphere for those who are able to enjoy it while caring for very sick people at what can be a very sad time of year.”
While Ann is off this Christmas Day, she will be back in work on Boxing Day.
“It comes with the job and you always know you will be working part of the festive season. You just prepare yourself for it and make the necessary family arrangements.”


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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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