Many thanks to Dympna Cawley, Assistant Director of Nursing at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.  She passed on to Hand in Hand the good news that the team from the National Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Centre had won an award for the ‘Best Patient Educational Initiative’ category.

This was at the Irish Healthcare Awards Ceremony in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel on November 7th.

We would like to offer our congratulations and share in Ms. Cawley’s excitement.  Not just because she has the knack of explaining things in language that a layman can understand. Nor for the fact that she has the most pleasant and husky voice that we’ve heard since Lauren Bacall met Humphrey Bogart. (Younger readers, look them up.  That’s why we have that new-fangled thing called Google.)

In fact it’s also because she has been known to say nice things about this charity and we here at Hand in Hand love the occasional compliment.

To give the award its full title, it is (deep breath):

An educational programme for parents/guardians to administer an intravenous chemotherapy agent cytosine arabinoside (ARA-C) to their child via a central venous access device in the home setting.

Can you imagine that written on a doctor’s prescription?  You would have taken a walk and stopped for lunch before you had it deciphered.

It is in fact the first home intravenous chemotherapy program in the Republic for children and adolescents with cancer; and the aim is to educate parents and guardians in delivering specific chemotherapy cytosine arabinoside to their children at home.

The information sent by Dympna Cawley included these objectives of the Home Chemo Programme:

  • To provide a quality assured safe home intravenous chemotherapy service to children and adolescents in their own home;
  • Reduce physical and emotional strain on parents and children caused by frequent hospitalisation, long travel journeys to the hospital and the financial cost of same;
  • To reduce the loss of school days for children attending;
  • To reduce the loss of work days for parents and consequent disruption to work and family schedules;
  • To ensure children have more time for play and adolescent activities

It was also pointed out that children have reported  more time for play and study, improved school attendance and engagement in their normal day-to-day activities; and parents have spoken of ‘fewer financial and time costs and less disruption to their work and family schedules’, all of which sounds very good and a definite cause to be enthusiastic about the programme.

The day after receiving the award Ms. Cawley was speaking at a conference in the Hilton Hotel, Dublin where she said:

“I’ve worked there [presumably Crumlin, not the Hilton] for eight years and can honestly say that we have an amazing team surrounding us.  We have that resource.

“Without that team, last night would never have happened; and the end product of it is quality service for the child.”

Once again, Hand in Hand would like to extend congratulations to all concerned.