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COVID-19 Minding your Mental Health

COVID-19 Minding your Mental Health

Infectious disease pandemics like coronavirus (COVID-19) can bring unprecedented worry and cause everyone to be much more acutely aware of life’s day to day uncertainties. Coronavirus is influencing our actions and our future plans, and is almost ever-present in our thoughts. This can result in having a negative affect on your mental health.

Just like physical health, everyone has mental health. Not everyone will experience a mental illness but everyone will over the course of their lifetime will face a mental health struggle or challenge with their well-being just like everyone deals with physical sickness. But please remember that there are many things that you can do and many services and supports that you can use to mind your mental health during times like this. 

When we talk about mental health, we are referring to our mental well-being i.e our emotions, thoughts, feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, our social connections, and our understanding of the world around us.

How corona virus can affect your mental health 

The spread of coronavirus is a new and challenging event. Some people might find it more worrying than others. Medical, scientific and public health experts are working hard to contain the virus. Try to remember this when you feel worried. Most people’s lives will change in some way over a period of days, weeks or months such as new ways of working, temporary unemployment, home-schooling and reduced social activity and restricted movement. Try to remember that everyone is feeling uncertainty and has moments of doubt, you are not alone and it will pass. 

You may notice some of the following: 

  • increased anxiety and stress
  • rapid heartbeat or breathing
  • chest pain/muscle tightness
  • finding yourself excessively checking for symptoms in yourself, or others 
  • becoming more irritable 
  • feeling unsettled 
  • fearing that normal aches and pains might be the virus 
  • having trouble sleeping 
  • feeling helpless or a lack of control 
  • having irrational thoughts 
  • lack of social interaction
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • low mood or mood swings

How to mind your mental health during this time 

  • Stay informed but set limits for news and social media. Learn the facts, if you are well-informed this can help you to feel less helpless. The constant stream of social media updates and news reports about coronavirus can cause worry. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate facts from rumours. Use reliable and trustworthy news sources. On social media, people may talk about their own worries or beliefs, try to ignore this. Too much time on social media may increase your worry and levels of anxiety. Limit the time you spend on social media. If you find the coverage on coronavirus is too intense, talk it through with someone or get support. 
  • Keep up routines. Your routine may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak in different ways but try your best to keep some structure in your day. It’s important to pay attention to your needs and feelings, especially during times of stress. You may still be able to do some of the things you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Regular exercise go for daily walks
  • Keep regular sleep patterns 
  • Maintain a balanced, healthy diet  
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
  • Practice meditation or activities that calm you down  
  • Read a book 
  • Try new exercises   

Stay connected. During times of stress, friends and families can be a good source of support. It is important to keep in touch with them and other people in your life. Loneliness can have a huge affect on your mental health. If you need to restrict your movements or self-isolate, try to stay connected to people in other ways. Reach out to those you feel might be suffering or on their own.

  • written letters
  • e-mail 
  • zoom
  • social media 
  • video calls/phone calls 
  • text messages 

Try to anticipate distress and support each other 

It is understandable to feel vulnerable or overwhelmed reading or hearing news about the outbreak. Acknowledge these feelings. Remind yourself and others to look after your physical and mental health. 

Don’t make assumptions 

Don’t judge people or make assumptions. The coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity. Remember that people handle situations differently so it is important to be kind and offer support to those close to you or in your local community where you can. We are all in this together. 

Online and phone supports 

Face-to-face services are limited at the moment because of the coronavirus outbreak. But some services are providing online and phone services. 

  • have a list of numbers of mental health service and relatives or friends you can call if you need support 
  • keep taking any prescribed medication and continue to fill your prescription with support from your GP or psychiatrist 
  • continue with any counselling you have 
  • if your condition gets worse, contact your mental health team or GP immediately just like you would with a physical illness or injury

UK Supports

Where to get urgent help for mental health https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/dealing-with-a-mental-health-crisis-or-emergency/

A Vision for Healthcare Assistants in Ireland

The Alliance of Health Care Assistants (AHCAI) came into being in 2015 and hopes to change the status quo for this discipline.  We are a membership organisation for healthcare assistants founded by a small group of healthcare assistant, and laypeople who valued the care they received when family members were in need.   Healthcare assistants make up 50% of the board of directors and 50% of the executive council. The AHCAI are working to raise the profile of the Healthcare Assistant and create a career path.  We are seeking registration/regulation for this discipline, so it can stand shoulder to shoulder in recognition and respect with other disciplines in the healthcare sector.   AHCAI represents Healthcare Assistants in all sectors of the service.  It is a not-for-profit company and registered charity.

AHCAI is involved with an industry led consortium of private healthcare providers and Griffith College the coordinating provider, in preparing a two-year apprenticeship program at Higher Certificate level 6, for healthcare assistants. It is an industry led apprenticeship during which healthcare assistants will acquire a greater knowledge of health and illness, work autonomously and become competent in a range of clinical and social care skills to assist the registered nurse.  The proposal was accepted by the Apprenticeship Council and announced, alongside twenty or so other apprenticeships, by the Minister for Education Richard Bruton on 8th December 2017.  The course will begin early in 2020. 

The next step in the process is to seek regulation for this higher-grade of healthcare assistant so that they will have a national scope and code of practice and ethics.  The higher-grade healthcare assistants will be responsible for their own practice.  All this is coming about in consultation with healthcare assistants rather than having decisions made about them without them.

Looking into the future AHCAI intends to seek a national standard of training and registration for existing level 5 qualified healthcare assistants and regulation for higher certificate healthcare assistant.  This in fact, is creating a career path for the discipline.  It is intended that this discipline will become attractive to school leavers choosing their future career.

When Healthcare assistants were first employed in numbers, they were distinguished from home helps by the fact that their duties were ‘hands on’ tasks for the care recipient, showering, dressing, feeding etc., while home helps carried out domestic tasks, cooking, cleaning, shopping. The work has become blended in the past ten years.  Healthcare assistants are, in some cases, being offered multitask contracts, where they can be requested to work with the care recipient or carry out housekeeping tasks.  This practice is not ideal as it can lead to poor infection prevention and control

AHCAI keeps Healthcare Assistants informed through Facebook and Twitter.  We offer free CPD courses on the members section of the website for which a certificate of course completion is issued.  Our first conference was held in Dublin last February and our second conference will be held in the Kingsley Hotel, Cork City in February 2020.  Tickets will cost €10. and will be available from Eventbrite at a later date.  The theme will be Working to Build a Better Future for Healthcare Assistants

The Alliance aims to be the voice of the healthcare assistant, uniting them and assisting them in forming a career path, raising their status through training and regulation/registration and having them recognised as a valued discipline in the health service. 

Visit our web site www.ahcai.ie and give us your support to continue to grow and develop the healthcare assistant discipline.  Application for membership can be made through the website, our membership fee is €15.00 for the year.

The Top Challenges of Recruiting International Healthcare Professionals

Though global healthcare recruitment can be a complicated procedure, understanding the specific challenges and requirements will help you attract and attain the talent you need. In this article, we’ll talk you through some of the main challenges of recruiting international healthcare professionals.

Understand right to work legislation

When recruiting staff from other countries, you’ll need to make sure that candidates are legally able to work in Ireland.

International workers will be required to have a permit to work in Ireland, but there’s plenty of other preparation they’ll need to do before embarking on their new role at your healthcare organisation. This includes:

Candidate Certificate – This must be applied for an International Nurse who receives a decision letter from NMBI to complete either the RCSI exam or Clinical Adaptation.NMBI issue the candidate certificates.

Atypical Visa – this must be applied for the International Nurse to gain legal entry into Ireland. This is applied through the Atypical visa office directly.

Entry Visa – This must be applied for in the International nurse’s own country to allow them to exit their own country legally and travel to Ireland.They do this by applying to their own immigration office.

Applying for permission to stay

Once your Nurse is in Ireland, they’ll need to apply for permission to stay, and register with immigration.

There are several different employments permits an International Nurse can apply for;

Stamp 0

Stamp 0 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a temporary period, subject to conditions.

  • You must be of independent means, ie fully financially self-sufficient. Alternatively, your sponsor in Ireland must be of independent means and can support you fully.
  • You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, eg be treated at a public hospital. You must have private medical insurance.
  • You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.

You may be given Stamp 0 if you have permission to:

  • Retire to or live in Ireland as a person of independent means
  • Be a visiting academic at an Irish university or college
  • Live in Ireland as the elderly, dependent relative of a non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen
  • Extend a short term visit here due to exceptional humanitarian circumstances
  • Work here for an overseas company to carry out a specific task for a limited time

Other

  • Register or renew
  • Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 0

Stamp 1

Stamp 1 indicates permission to work or operate a business in Ireland, subject to conditions. Stamp 1 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

  • You must not start a job or enter employment unless you or your employer has obtained an employment permit for you.
  • If you do not have an employment permit you must not engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.
  • If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

You may be given Stamp 1 if you have permission to:

  • Work here based on an employment permit
  • Operate a business here
  • Work here based on a Working Holiday Authorisation

Other

  • Register or renew
  • Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 1

Stamp 1A

Stamp 1A indicates permission in full time, paid accountancy training (in compliance with the immigration rules or regulated by the IAASA and with a training contract with a company based in Ireland) for a specified period, subject to conditions.

  • You must not engage in any other business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.
  • If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

You may be given Stamp 1A if you have permission to:

  • Study accountancy as a trainee & be employed as a trainee accountant
  • Register or renew
  • Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 1A

Stamp 1G

Graduate Student who currently holds a Stamp 2 or 2A permission

Stamp 1G indicates you have finished your studies in Ireland and have permission to look for employment here under the Third Level Graduate Programme, subject to conditions.

  • You can work full time in accordance with employment law provisions but are not permitted to operate a business or be self-employed.
  • If you wish to continue working after Stamp 1G expires, you must find a job that requires an employment permit and then follow the usual application process.

While on a Stamp 1G, your other permissions and conditions remain the same as for Stamp 2/2A.

  • You may be given Stamp 1G if you have permission to:
  • Look for work as part of the Third Level Graduate Programme

  Spouse/de facto partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or a Spouse/de facto partner of Researchers in the State on Hosting Agreements

From the 6 March 2019 the Stamp 1G will also provide for the change in policy to both visa and non-visa required non-EEA nationals, who are Spouses and de facto partners of persons who are currently resident in this State, on Stamp 3 conditions, as the family member of a person resident in the State on the basis of a Critical Skills Employment Permit or a Researcher in the State on a Hosting Agreement.

The requirement to obtain a DPSEP has been removed for this group by DBEI. INIS will grant eligible de facto partners of CSEP holders and researchers on a Hosting Agreement permission, to reside in this State on Stamp 1G Conditions without the need to obtain a DPSEP from DBEI. This will allow access to the labour market without an Employment Permit.

Summary of employment conditions for spouses and de facto partners of CSEP holders and researchers on a Hosting Agreement permission

Permitted to work in the State without the requirement to obtain a work permit

Not permitted to establish or operate a Business

Not permitted to be Self- Employed

Renewal of the Stamp 1G registration should be applied for annually, and after 5years on a Stamp 1G, you may apply for a Stamp 4

Periods spent on Stamp 1G are considered as reckonable residence for the purpose of making an application for Citizenship/Naturalisation

Stamp 2

Stamp 2 indicates permission to study a full time course on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP) for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 2 is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

  • You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services (eg public hospitals) unless you have an entitlement via other means.
  • You can work in casual employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during school term and 40 hours per week during holidays. You must not engage in any other business or trade.
  • If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

You may be given Stamp 2 if you have permission to study the following:

  • English language
  • Higher national diploma
  • Degree (undergraduate)
  • Master’s degree (postgraduate)
  • PhD
  • Other
  • Register or renew
  • Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 2

Stamp 2A

Stamp 2A indicates permission for full time study in Ireland for a course that is not on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP), for a specified period. Stamp 2A is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

  • You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, eg public hospitals. You must have private medical insurance.
  • You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession.
  • If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

You may be given Stamp 2A in the following circumstances:

  • Semester abroad (ie at an Irish university/college)
  • Study at a private secondary school in Ireland
  • Register or renew
  • Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 2A

Stamp 3

Stamp 3 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 3 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

  • You cannot work or engage in any business, trade or profession.
  • If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

You may be given Stamp 3 if you have permission to:

  • Volunteer, eg with a charity or non-profit
  • Be a minister of religion
  • Join your non-EEA/EU/Swiss spouse/civil partner or family member who is here based on a work permit

Other

  • Register or renew
  • Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 3

Stamp 4

Stamp 4 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 4 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

  • You can take up employment and are not required to hold an Employment Permit.
  • You can work in a profession, subject to conditions of the relevant professional or other bodies.
  • You can establish and operate a business.
  • You may access state funds and services as determined by Government departments or agencies.

If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire.

You may be given Stamp 4 if you have had permission to work in Ireland:

  • With a valid Critical Skills employment permit for 2 years
  • With a valid employment permit for 5 years
  • As a researcher (ie with a valid Hosting Agreement) for 2 years

You may be given Stamp 4 if you are granted permission:

  • To join your Irish spouse, civil partner or de-facto partner
  • To join your EU/EEA or Swiss family member based on EU Treaty Rights
  • To join a family member who has immigration permission based on Stamp 4EUFAM (ie EU Treaty Rights)
  • To join your family member who is a recognised refugee or has been granted subsidiary protection
  • To remain with your child who is an Irish citizen
  • Under the Investor and Entrepreneur Programme (including spouse/partner & family)
  • For Long Term Residence
  • As a convention or programme refugee, or based on subsidiary protection
  • Register or renew
  • Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 4

Stamp 5

Stamp 5 indicates permission to stay in Ireland without limits on the time you can remain here, subject to other conditions. Stamp 5 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation.

The stamp will be valid up to the expiry date on your passport.

You may be given Stamp 5 if you have permission to:

  • Remain in Ireland ‘Without condition as to time’ (WCATT)

Stamp 6

Stamp 6 indicates you are an Irish citizen with dual-citizenship.

  • You may be given Stamp 6 in your non-Irish passport if you have applied for permission to:
  • Remain in Ireland ‘Without condition’

When you offer a job to an international candidate, it’s your duty to make them aware of these procedures before they accept the offer.

There are some exceptions to these rules, so make sure you’re aware of them during the recruitment process.

It’s also important to remember that recruiting staff from abroad may take more time than employing from Ireland. Candidates need to apply for a visa three months before travelling, and there may be additional time needed to prepare documents such as Employment Permits to support their application.

Know your international registration bodies

Registration bodies are important in making sure that health professionals are trained appropriately and deemed competent and fit to practice.

Despite these challenges, recruiting employees from other countries can be very rewarding and bring important skills and talent to your healthcare business. If you ensure you understand the process of recruiting international candidates, you’ll soon be hiring some fantastic assets to your team.  

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Article Written By:
Alan Hickley & Aileen McCann

Servisource – Providing Support at Every Stage Along the Care Pathway from Birth to End of Life

Servisource is as the name suggests – the source of great customer service in recruitment, staffing and managed services. The business is divided into two operating divisions – Servisource Recruitment and Servisource Healthcare.

Servisource Recruitment is one of the largest recruitment companies in Ireland and part of the CPL Group. It specialises in providing staffing solutions in Healthcare, Clerical/Admin, Construction and Warehousing and Logistics. We place staff on a permanent, contract or temporary basis. Servisource has 17 years’ experience in delivering great staffing solutions throughout Ireland, the UK and for Irish clients who place teams abroad. Our impressive success and fill rates are achieved by employing highly motivated, sector specific experts.

Established in 2004 Servisource Healthcare, specialises in delivering bespoke in/outsourced solutions to the public and private sector in Ireland. We have a thriving homecare business – Myhomecare.ie. We provide training and occupational health screening. Our Allied Admissions team provides a much valued and important service, safely transferring patients to psychiatric facilities nationwide. Servisource ESW is the largest provider of Education Support Workers in Ireland, assisting 3rd level students with disabilities equal access to their chosen course of study. Finally, Servisource Managed Services operates a variety of medical services across the country including Transitional Care Units, Day-care facilities, Clinical processes and other custom-made services on an in/outsourced basis.

Servisource prides itself on the close relationship it has built with the public sector over the past 17 years. The company has been placed on many frameworks with the OGP including appointments management and occupational health. We are a long-term partner to the HSE, SOLAS, Poball, the HRB and many more in terms of providing tailor-made staffing solutions. In fact, most of the services described above are designed and delivered in partnership with public agencies.

The public sector is important to our business. In a fast-moving environment, public services rely on contingent staffing and tailored services to respond to the needs of the population. Our role is to be there when they need us in the areas of healthcare, administration, training and outsourced services.

Servisource has exciting plans to expand our recruitment and managed service divisions. We have recently launched our RecruitIsland.ie brand and website which intends to become a ‘go to’ portal for candidates and clients to source the best candidates and opportunities. The personal touch is always valued, however, the recruitment process is becoming more automated and prospective candidates are more mobile when accessing information. RI is responding to this by offering an app which operates as a gateway to the best jobs online and for clients who can upload profiles to attract the best candidates.

Managed Services has launched ground-breaking new initiatives recently, including: VIZIER. Vizier is an intra EU project which will use the internet of things (IoT) to facilitate social companionship for older people living at home. It aims to provide a common user-friendly platform where service users gain easy access to information and services in a non-intimidating and secure manner. See here for information on Vizier: https://servisource.wpengine.com/vizier-aal-project/

Pre/Post Natal Care – for expectant and new mums, Servisource provides experienced midwives and nurses to assist with the preparation for birth and providing support in those crucial few days and weeks adjusting to new circumstances. See more information on our maternity nursing service here: https://myhomecare.ie/post-natal-home-help-private-maternity-nursing-service/ 

Outsourced/Insourced Medical services – Servisource has recently been appointed to the National Framework for the provision of buildings and staffing to carry out vital procedures to address waiting lists and relieve the pressure on the public system. We are providing solutions in the areas of gynaecology, endoscopy and cataract surgery at many locations.

Our aim is to continue to work closely with the public sector to deliver world class services in staffing and healthcare solutions. We will continue to understand, integrate and develop new solutions in partnership with the public service to assist them to achieve their vision for a better Ireland.