‘It reaffirms my faith in people and motivates me to be a good nurse and to try and bring these values into my personal life.’
We have four full time nurses as part of the IMNDA team. One of which is Eithne Cawley who has been part of IMNDA since 2015. Over to you Katie…
Did you always want to be a nurse?
Yes, I wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember.
What do you do with the IMNDA?
I provide a nursing advisory and support role to patients and their families. I also work as part of the wider multidisciplinary team helping patients navigate their journey with this illness and through our Healthcare system.
How long are you working with them?
I joined the IMNDA in April 2015 as a result of the amazing Ice Bucket Awareness Campaign.
What do you love about your job?
I feel privileged to be of some support and help to people when they need it most. I am always amazed when I met a new patient and their family at how open they are and grateful for any advice and support. It reaffirms my faith in people and motivates be to be a good nurse and to try bring these values into my personal life.
What challenges do face in your role on a day to day basis?
MND is a tough diagnosis, meeting people that are just coming to terms with this huge change in their lives, when they are vulnerable and upset is challenging. I try to maintain professionalism with compassion, being honest and prompting hope for a good quality of life while maintaining respect and awareness for the person not just the patient who now has MND.
What do you think is lacking in the care/assistance for people living with MND?
I think there are shortages in funding home care. There is also limited access to respite, but this is reflected across the HSE. Hence the need for the valuable role the IMNDA plays.
Do you think there is enough awareness of this terrible disease?
I think awareness is growing year on year. The generosity of many of our members has facilitated this through their work in our campaigns such as Sponsored Silence, Drink Tea for MND and many more.
As you visit people living with MND in their own homes, how important is it to keep people at home?
Staying at home should be supported by the health service where possible, if this is what the person wants and it best suits their needs. I think more access to respite and home help would support relatives caring for their loved ones at home.
Finally, what impact does donations make to people living with MND?
I think it makes them feel supported not just practically with services and equipment but more importantly emotionally. The donations to the IMNDA highlights the public commitment and willingness to go to extraordinary lengths to help those in need.