The Public Health Nursing role assigned to Offaly Traveller Movement has been in place since 1995 and is based on the clinical social model of care.
The main focus of work is to plan and organise Traveller specific health programmes for the wider Traveller community in partnership with the Community Health Workers. The All Ireland Traveller Health Status Study (2007-2010) identified Travellers as having increased levels of mortality and morbidity than the population in general and outlined a number of obstacles to accessing health services.
The main focus of the work is:
- Planning Traveller specific health programmes along with Peer women in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner to meet the health needs of the wider Traveller community in Co. Offaly. Examples of some of the programmes include: child safety awareness, cervical screening, HPV vaccines, diabetes, retinal screening, asthma and immunisations.
- To undertake a holistic health needs assessment of Traveller persons, to agree outcomes with clients, to provide general/clinical nursing care as required and to implement recommendations and/or onward referrals to appropriate health service providers.
- Encouraging uptake of health screening for Traveller clients such as checking their blood pressure, carbon monoxide monitoring, blood sugar monitoring, body mass index, consultations and referring clients to appropriate services if need be.
- To establish relationship of trust with Traveller clients. Obtain consent to provide a service to them.
- To promote optimal health within the constraints that some Traveller families face and live under e.g. roadside conditions/homelessness.
- To ensure that individuals understand their medication and purpose of special diets prescribed by their G.P. or hospital doctor and promote their buy in.
- To co-ordinate/organise appointments with specialist services as required and attend appointments with clients if they so wish.
- To develop innovative initiatives and link with other agencies and health professionals in order to develop evidence based services in line with health needs.
- Ensure familiarity with the services and facilities used by Travellers.
- To develop integration by promoting holistic patient centred care.
- To liaise with other stakeholders associated with caring for Travellers.
- To act as a resource to nursing colleagues and the wider multidisciplinary team within HSE Primary Care.
- To act as a conduit between HSE mainstream services and Traveller health to encourage and promote health and social gain for Travellers with the ultimate goal of increasing service uptake.