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The Health Development Project 2020 - 2022

The purpose of the SBHI Health Development Project is to facilitate a greater standard of understanding and experience with regards to positive health promotion in the adult spina bifida and hydrocephalus community in Ireland.

The project will be delivered primarily through the introduction of a new role – the Health Development Manager. The multi-functional role will focus on increasing positive health awareness, understanding, and experience amongst adults living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus (SB/H).

Additionally, the role emphasises the importance of providing practical strategies to assist adults with SB/H with their general and recurring health issues, mental well-being, and capacity to age well. Assisting adults with SB/H in the ageing process is a relatively new priority as this population, until recently, had not yet reached old age. Prior to the introduction of the shunt in the 1960’s, babies born with SB/H did not survive into adulthood. Within our own organisation, we are now witnessing the first wave of people living well into their 50’s and beyond.

The Health Development Project will ensure that adults are effectively assisted while navigating the ageing process. As we are all aware, ageing raises complex health issues and this applies to everyone, including adults with SB/H. The Health Development Manager will work to equip adults with SB/H and their families with the knowledge, skills, and resources required to engage with their local community health services and to maintain good health as they age.

As part of the Health Development Project, the Health Development Manager will develop resources to raise awareness of SB/H amongst hospitals, medical professionals, and the wider community, whilst also providing practical personal care for SBHI activities where suitably qualified.

The Health Development Manager will be a key point of contact, sharing important information and building a body of data based on the realities of living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus. This information will lead to a greater and validated knowledge of spina bifida and hydrocephalus within our own work as we highlight where the innovations in health services are required. This information will enable positive engagement with healthcare providers so that those affected can, in time, receive the best level of service possible.

Contact the Health Development Manager, Hazel McGeough, at:

t: 087 407 1786

e: [email protected]