Croí & Bluebird Care, Patient Education Partnership

Education at the heart of stroke and heart disease prevention

Bluebird Care Supports Croí

The efforts of heart and stroke charity Croí in preventing death or disability from heart attack and stroke have received a welcome boost this week by way of a generous donation from local home care company Bluebird Care who have become a Croí Patient Education Partner for the coming year. The partnership aims to prevent heart attacks and strokes in the West of Ireland through patient education and awareness initiatives which will educate people on the risk factors for heart disease and stroke and signpost them to a healthier and longer life.

Managing Director of Bluebird Care in Galway, Sean Lyons says that losing his father to a heart attack at a young age gives him a greater appreciation for the work of Croí.

“I believe that if Croí was around when my father suffered his heart attack, he might probably be alive today. The services provided by the charity are invaluable not just in terms of after-care but also in terms of preventive education. The patient education programmes and activities which are being invested in by Bluebird Care aim to save lives and we are very proud to be part of it.”

Speaking at a reception in the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre, Croí CEO Neil Johnson said “support from local companies like Bluebird Care is vital for the continuation of our work as we rely totally on sponsorship partnerships such as this. We are delighted to receive this very welcome support from Bluebird Care whose work has synergies with the key messages we are trying to convey to those living with heart disease or stroke” 

Johnson went on to say that “the work being undertaken at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre aimed at risk factor reduction and supporting lifestyle and behaviour change is yielding measurable health benefits. The results being achieved have been independently verified as improving cardiovascular health and wellbeing with the added benefit of being cost saving to the health service”

Croí & Bluebird Care - Stroke and heart disease prevention

Signing of 2017 Croí & Bluebird Care, Patient Education Partnership: Neil Johnson, CEO, Croí
Sean Lyons, Managing Director, Bluebird Care
Joe Kavanagh, Corporate Relations, Croí

Galway man Malachy Matthews who has taken part in one of Croí’s education programmes says it has ‘transformed’ his life. Malachy who had a mini stroke says it could be explained by a lifetime of not looking after himself that just caught up with him.

“I had effectively been loading my gun for many years, smoking, drinking and eating what I wanted without taking regular exercise and that day, my luck ran out. Attending Croí’s MyAction programme was life-changing, just as life-changing as the day I had my stroke.

“They re-calibrated my thinking about my own health and lifestyle, they educated me, but most of all they empowered me. I got great advice and help from a medical nurse, dietician and physiotherapist and they looked at all aspects of my loaded gun. I cannot thank them enough.”

Watch Malachy Matthew’s story

Watch Croí & Bluebird Care collaborate

The fit for work bill Ireland

The Fit For Work Bill: What it really could mean for people with disabilities in Ireland

A new programme contained in the Programme for Government proposes new incentives for people with a disability to stay or return to work. Given that we work with people with disabilities right across Ireland we decided to find out more about this programme.


What is the Fit for Work programme?

The programme for government contains a provision for a “Fit for Work programme to support more people to get back to work if they have an illness or disability.”

The programme falls under the responsibility of the Minister of State with responsibilities for disability, Finian McGrath T.D.

Arthritis Ireland is leading the development of the Fit for Work programme in Ireland.

“Fit for Work is a unique initiative that aims to better align the work and health agendas in Ireland, bringing together for the first time key stakeholders from both the work and health arenas to drive important policy changes, armed with a solid evidence base.”


Highlights of a half day conference on Fit to Work that took place in Dublin in 2013



Why is the programme being spear-headed by Athritis Ireland?

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the leading cause of temporary work disability among Ireland’s working age population. The social costs of MSDs are enormous, often over-shadowing those of other chronic conditions. In Ireland, 14 million days are lost each year due to absence and ill health in the workforce, with half of those attributable to MSDs. This costs Ireland E750m each year and 7 million days in absenteeism.


A guide for employees

Whether you are newly diagnosed with arthritis,back pain or another musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), or have been living with the condition for many years, managing work can sometimes be challenging. This guide provides you with up-to-date and accurate information and advice to make sure you can find the help you need to stay in your job. If you are worried or concerned following a recent diagnosis of an MSD, you can find more information about what kind of support you are entitled to. This guide also discusses the options of re-training or moving to different types of jobs within an organisation.

Download the guide here


A guide for employers

Are you interested in the Fit for Work programme? Download the information leaflet here

What’s been the reaction to it?

Senator John Dolan, who is the Disability Federation of Ireland chief executive, said there was fears that a Fit for Work scheme, modelled on the British example, will be target driven and force people to work who are not fit to do so.


“There are worrying concerns and criticisms of the UK Fit for Work scheme related to the assessment process, unreasonable target-based cultures, resources, time and expertise available to the assessment process and subjectiveness.”


Minister of State with Responsibility for Disability Finian McGrath says the programme is based on an EU model.


“Any such proposals will be in line with the wealth of evidence which shows that generally employment is good for one’s mental and physical health and wellbeing and, conversely, that unemployment is damaging.”

It’s about choice

Being able to work and being afforded the right and the opportunity to work are two separate situations. However, we welcome any initiatives that support people with a disability who choose to work.

#ability2access Event in Navan – Highlights Videos

On Thursday 23rd October 2014, Newstalk’s Norah Casey chaired our first in a series of Disability events, “Equality for All. No Matter of Age or Ability.” #ability2access

The event saw a number of speakers including Hate Crime Researcher Frank Larkin from Letterkenny; Access Campaigner and 2014 Spirit of Northern Ireland Finalist, Dermot Devlin from Omagh; Stephen Cluskey, Social Entrepreneur and founder of, the HSE and Special Olympics Ireland.

It was an evening of great spirit, empowerment, hope and inspiration and most of all it highlight ability not disability.

Our speakers discussed issues such as access to healthcare, independent living support, access to education, physical access to public and private buildings, disability hate crime community-based services.

Watch our videos from the event here. Our first video is the highlights of the night while below we have one-to-one interviews with Norah Casey and our speakers.


View the photos from the event here:


Disability Seminars to Debate Hard Hitting Issues

Newstalk’s Bobby Kerr to chair free seminars hosted by Bluebird Care

Newstalk’s Bobby Kerr will chair a series of disability-themed seminars addressing issues affecting people with disabilities in Ireland today.

“Equality for All. No Matter of Age or Ability” will be held in Navan on Thursday 23rd October 2014 and in Ennis on Wednesday 19th November at 7.00pm.

The events will see a number of speakers including people with disabilities discuss access to healthcare, independent living support, access to education, physical access to public and private buildings, disability hate crime and HSE services.

Speakers include Disability Hate Crime Researcher Frank Larkin from Letterkenny; Access Campaigner and 2014 Spirit of Northern Ireland Finalist, Dermot Devlin from Omagh; Stephen Cluskey, Social Entrepreneur and founder of, HSE representatives and the Midway Charity.

Both events are free to attend. 


Register for the Navan event.

Call Bluebird Care Meath 046 9090 333



Register for the Ennis event.

Call Bluebird Care Clare 065 686 8222