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eithne cawley

Getting to Know Our Nurses- Eithne Cawley

‘I am honoured to be the custodian of such inspirational people. I am in a very privileged position, working alongside the IMNDA, Interdisciplinary teams, connected to primary & secondary care settings and above all clients & their families.’ 

We have four full time nurses as part of the IMNDA team. One of which is Eithne Cawley who has been part of IMNDA for 8 years. Over to you Eithne…



Did you always want to be a nurse?

I have always had an affinity towards the wellbeing of people and the values of compassion, care and commitment so yes, a nursing career path was the obvious choice.

A quote I recently was very privileged to receive from a special friend,

‘‘Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion’’ – Dalai Lama

What do you do with the IMNDA?

Patient advocacy is true and centre of everything I do and I endeavour to address the needs of patients, embracing physical, social, clinical & spiritual elements.

I am the link in the provision of care from diagnosis, from secondary care to primary care and the wider circle of the multidisciplinary team. I focus on the enhancing the quality of life for the client and support for the family throughout the journey of MND.

I apply my nursing skills in a holistic client centered manor. Patient advocacy is key to my role.

How long are you working with IMNDA?

Since 2011.

What do you love about your job?

I am honoured to be the custodian of such inspirational people. I am in a very privileged position, working alongside the IMNDA, interdisciplinary teams, connected to primary & secondary care settings and above all clients & their families.

I am also privileged to care for the unsung heroes, that is, clients, families and carers, as they embrace this courageous journey.

What challenges do you face in your role on a day to day basis?

The emotional and psychological impact of receiving a life limiting condition can leave clients & families devastated and indeed us as carers.

As a team of nurses, together with multidisciplinary team, we support each other through the good times and the sad times.

The wonderful work that is provided by the support of the psycho social teams guide us through the stormy waters.

What do you think is lacking in the care/assistance for people living with MND?

A diagnosis of MND inevitably affects the wider family that are caring for their relative, whether they are partners, adult children or parents. As one lady said to me very recently ‘’this illness really is our illness, not just my husbands’’.

Dealing with the changing roles within the partnership and the household can be very stressful and some carers face very difficult decisions. Very often the loved one becomes the carer, providing much of the personal and physical care but at the same time this can be very demanding. Carers often report sheer physical hard work, disturbed sleep and exhaustion. One lady recently told me ‘’getting to do the weekly messages was a privilege’’.

Thankfully the IMNDA can support the carer and families by supplementing home care packages, providing specialised equipment, counselling/psychotherapy support service.

Do you think there is enough awareness of this disease?

There is always room for improvement with awareness. High profile events such as Drink Tea for MND, The infamous Ice Bucket challenge and most recently Walk While You Can demonstrates the power of awareness, Irish humanity and generosity. Creating awareness of MND is fundamental so that we can support clients and families on this journey.

As you visit people living with MND in their own homes, how important is it to keep people at home?

Everyone’s home is their castle and we endeavour to keep our clients close to those they love.

However, this may not always be possible if clients requires specialised advanced nursing care.

Many people remain in their own home with community and multidisciplinary supports in place.

What impact does donations make to people living with MND?

With the absence of fundraising the outcome would be devastating for MND clients and families.

Donations received from the Irish people has resulted in providing a team of expert Nurses, home care support, equipment library, psychotherapy & most recently well-being therapies.

These essential funds enables our clients to live a unique journey with hope and dignity.