Mary Hinds, Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at the PHA, said: “Over the past 100 years, life expectancy for both men and women in Northern Ireland has increased. In 2013‐15, male and female life expectancy was around 78 years and 82 years respectively.
“Ageing populations can be regarded as one of humanity’s greatest achievements because the trend reflects the many significant advances in health and the overall quality of life. People are living longer thanks to better conditions at home and work, vaccines to prevent what used to be fatal infections, earlier diagnosis, and better treatment of illness when it occurs.
“It is therefore important that with an ageing population we continue to build on nursing workforce initiatives in Northern Ireland and help to retain and build a resilient and skilled workforce in care of older people settings here. Project RETAIN will target nursing staff in older people’s wards across our hospitals in the five Health and Social Care Trusts, where retention and recruitment have presented significant challenges, and student nursing covering both rural and urban areas to encourage nursing professionals to remain in or take up roles in the care of older people.”
Gillian McCorkel, who has been appointed as Project Lead Nurse in PHA, stated: “Project RETAIN has five objectives and these will be realised through a number of different initiatives, in collaboration with Age NI. Nursing staff will have the opportunity to attend and take part in a variety of programmes and training, targeted around the specific needs of the older person and their families. Peer facilitators from Age NI will also engage with nursing staff on wards and with students currently undertaking their pre-reg training to deliver a series of action learning sets which focus on the core issues that matter to older people who are receiving nursing care.”
Mary Hinds concluded: “We are very pleased to receive this funding from the Burdett Trust and are very excited about the opportunities it will provide in terms of professional development for our nursing colleagues, and in turn the experiences of those people availing of the services.”
Shirley Baines, Chief Executive from the Burdett Trust for Nursing, said: “The Burdett Trust is delighted to support this nurse-led initiative. Project RETAIN will empower nursing staff who are currently employed within older persons’ hospital wards to contribute to, and hopefully make significant improvement to, the patient care environment.”
Duane Farrell, Charity Director at Age NI, added: “Age NI is delighted to continue working in partnership with the PHA on the RETAIN project. Nursing in older people’s environments is of huge importance. Our work together will ensure that the voice and experience of older people are central to the future of nursing here, and that working in partnership, older people can support the development of a competent and stable nursing workforce for our ageing population.”
Pictured at the launch is Mary Hinds, Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at the PHA and Robert Ferguson, Age NI volunteer.