Western Trust's Clionagh is Northern Ireland's first Acute Liaison Nurse

Mon, 14/09/2020 - 13:34 -- Editor

The Western Trust has appointed the First Acute Liaison Nurse supporting adults with a learning disability.

Clionagh McElhinney, from Dungiven is the first nurse in Northern Ireland to be appointed to this role which recognises the need to support adults with a learning disability who require admission to hospital.

Karen O’Brien, Director of Mental Health and Learning Disability Services for the Western Trust commented: “The appointment of Clionagh as the very first acute liaison nurse in Northern Ireland demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to supporting people with a learning disability and their carers.  Clionagh is an excellent, experienced nurse who has worked within the local community for over 24 years working as a community learning disability nurse. Her wealth of knowledge and expertise will ensure that the Trust delivers on our commitment to engaging and supporting people who attend our acute hospitals for care and treatment.”

Christine McLaughlin, Assistant Director for Adult Disability Services for the Western Trust said: “Clionagh is an integral member of the Adult Learning Disability Community Nursing Team based at Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry. Clionagh’s role is to ensure reasonable adjustments for adults with a Learning Disability are met when they require admission to hospital.  She is the point of contact for hospital staff, carers, patients, other health care professionals and stakeholders to ensure the delivery of prompt, safe and effective care for patients with learning disabilities. As part of a multi-disciplinary team Clionagh will be supporting patients and their carers throughout their hospital journey, support individuals when they are admitted to hospital and also in all areas of the hospital such as the Emergency Department (ED) or Outpatients Department.”

Christine explained: “Reasonable adjustments means making small changes to the way hospital staff engage with patients with a learning disability including allowing extra time for their appointment; providing easy reading material; supporting carers at visiting times or facilitating carers staying overnight. During the current Covid-19 Pandemic and the restrictions in visiting in place to protect patients and staff, Clionagh has helped facilitate video calls to loved ones. This has been an extremely challenging time for all health care staff and Clionagh has worked hard to ensure that our learning disability clients’ needs are met she is a wonderful advocate for learning disability services and we wish her ever success in her role.”