TUH Launch third Let’s Talk About Series

Series 3 Lets talk about (May 28th 2024) Tallaght University Hospital have launched their third Let’s Talk About podcast series, the topic for this series is Let’s Talk About Down Syndrome. Each episode is targeted at individuals with Down syndrome, their families, carers, health & social care staff and anybody who has an interest in the health needs of adults with Down syndrome in Ireland.

Hosted by Geraldine Kyle, a registered nurse tutor in TUH, over the course of the five podcasts, she speaks to a number of health experts for people with intellectual disabilities and also speaks with Ross O’Neill, a young man with Down syndrome, a representative of Down syndrome Ireland and a mother of a young adult with Down syndrome.

Commenting on the series Geraldine Kyle, a registered nurse tutor said “As a healthcare professional and a mother of a young adult with Down syndrome I welcome the opportunity to discuss best practice on how to support the healthcare needs of this diverse population. Our subject matter experts on this podcast series provide valuable information of interest to individuals, parents, Doctors, Nurses and Health and Social Care Professionals.”

Commenting on the production Shauna Ennis, Head of the Centre for Learning & Development at TUH said: “TUH strives to meet the individualised healthcare needs of all of our patients. This series is the second initiative from the Centre for Learning & Development on caring for those that are neurodivergent* and who may need additional supports when accessing our services I would like to acknowledge the contributions from our experts and the team that put this together. The production of these materials are an extension of our CARE values at TUH. Collaborating on a project with our academic and care partners, respecting our patients and bringing equity through a greater understanding to our patients in the care that they receive. The series will be of great interest and relevance to so many.”

“Ensuring that people with Down syndrome are included in conversations about healthcare is hugely important, and these podcasts are an excellent initiative to raise awareness. Anything which can be done to promote understanding of the needs of people with Down syndrome and to facilitate inclusion and communication in the hospital environment is welcome. It was great to get the opportunity to contribute to this series along with Ross” Nicola Hart, National Research & Support Specialist with Down Syndrome Ireland.

The five part series can be found on the Hospital YouTube Channel, Facebook page, Spotify and Podbean. Each episode in the series is approximately 15 minutes long and targeted at anyone who wants to learn more about Down syndrome, what it is, the health implications for those living with it and practical advice on how to provide healthcare to these patients.

Episode #1 Nicola Hart, National Research & Support Specialist of Down Syndrome Ireland and Ross O’Neill, Junior Administrator in Down Syndrome Ireland speak to Geraldine and share valuable insights about the lived experience of someone living with Down syndrome and important communication strategies that healthcare staff should be aware of.

Episode #2 In this episode Geraldine is joined by Fiona McGrane, Clinical nurse Specialist in Down syndrome in Children’s Health Ireland and discusses the common health needs of people with Down syndrome and the importance of a smooth transition from the children to adult services, sharing  some practical advice to parents / carers.

Episode #3 Fran Kane, a member of the TUH Patient Community Advisory Council and a mother of a young adult with Down syndrome and Suzanne Kennedy, Acute Intellectual Disability Liaison Nurse in TUH discuss some of the important issues that face people with Down syndrome accessing hospital services. They stress the importance of effective communication and how helpful the HSE Health Passport can be in the healthcare journey in hospital.

Episode #4 Professor Seán Kennelly, Consultant Geriatrician & Clinical Director of the National Intellectual Disability Memory Service and his colleague Evelyn Reilly, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in the National Intellectual Disability Memory Service join Geraldine to discuss the relationship with dementia and Down syndrome and its prevalence. They also talk about what people should be aware of when considering the risks of dementia in people with Down syndrome, very practical advice on how to mind the brain as people with Down syndrome age. They also discuss how the Intellectual Disability Memory Service works and supports people with Down syndrome and dementia.

Episode #5 Professor Mary McCarron, founder and Principal Investigator for IDS-TILDA discusses with podcast host Geraldine Kyle the results of the Intellectual Disability Supplement to the Irish Longitudinal Comparative Study on Ageing. Mary has led a longitudinal cohort study of dementia in people with Down syndrome for over 25 years. The result of this work has seen the country’s first dedicated National Memory Service for people with an intellectual disability. In this final episode she shares her thoughts on important ways that healthcare staff can support the health needs of people with Intellectual Disability including Down syndrome. She points out the massive improvements that have been made in the health of people with Down syndrome but the ongoing need to ensure health screening takes place regularly. They also discuss the importance of training healthcare staff to understand the different levels of intellectual disability and how to communicate effectively with people of varying levels of ability.

*The Centre for Learning & Development in partnership with AsIAm, produced an eLearning programme on autism. The programme is 40 minutes long and is available to healthcare professionals through HSELand (the health service’s online development portal). You can watch a brief section of the programme via this link