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Having a Choice in Home Care

“Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin”

is a lovely old Irish saying which means, “There is no fire side like your own fireside”. How true this is.

We all love the comfort and security of our own homes and so, it is the wish of many of us, as we grow older and move on in years, to remain in our own homes, close to our families, friends and community.

Unfortunately, sometimes, due to circumstances such as ill health or the death of one’s life partner, life as we know it may change, and suddenly, that, what seemed very ordinary now becomes quite extraordinary and living at home no longer appears a viable option. But there is an option.

Thanks to many successive Governments in this country, there is today, a choice available for those of us that require a little extra help to remain in our homes, if we so wish.  This help is called home care. 

In Ireland, home care is provided by both the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the private sector, for instance, companies such as Bluebird Care, for which I am the Director of Care. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about the service we provide and reassure you, that yes, home care can be an option for you and your family member if so required.

Bluebird Care is an independent service provider that provides direct care in the home and community to customers on behalf of the HSE and other agencies as requested. We also provide services to customers in a private capacity at the request of the individual or a family member.  We have 26 offices nationwide, all independently owned and managed.

At Bluebird Care we are dedicated to providing professional, safe, quality health and social care services in a dignified, respectful and compassionate manner to all of our customers.

Our care services facilitate people to remain in their own homes and community in so far as is possible.

We provide care services to the following:

  • Older Persons
  • Adults and older persons with a medical diagnoses of Dementia
  • Adults who require care and support due to chronic illness such as Arthritis, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Respiratory conditions etc.
  • Adults who require care and support as a result of an Acquired Brain Injury
  • Adults with an established Spinal Injury who require support/rehabilitation to live at home
  • Adults who require support with convalescence/rehabilitation post hospitalisation
  • Adults with Physical/Sensory/Intellectual Disabilities
  • Children with Physical/Sensory/Intellectual Disabilities
  • College Students who require support to attend college
  • Adults/Children with complex care needs i.e. Tracheostomy Care

An example of some of the type of care services we can provide for our customers in the community include:

  • Assisting the customer with his her personal care / hygiene needs / catheter care
  • Assisting the customer with getting up and going to bed.
  • Assisting the customer with dressing and undressing.
  • Meal preparation and assisting the customer with eating
  • Shopping and running errands
  • Medication prompting / collecting and returning medication from pharmacies / dispensing GP surgeries
  • Light Housework / laundry
  • Assisting the customer with social activities i.e. support with visiting friends, attending clubs.

Our services are nurse-led because we know that competent reflective nurse practitioners are crucial to the delivery of safe, quality customer care.

All our care staff have the required training and skill set as prescribed by the HSE to carry out their work and are supported in their work by our care managers and care supervisors.  We train our staff to place the customer at the heart and centre of every interaction.

Regardless of the position of any staff member in our company, we require that all staff involved in the provision of care on behalf of Bluebird Care have the following key competencies:  kindness, respect, dignity and compassion.

From the moment of referral, Bluebird Care will respond to the customer in a timely person centered manner. Anyone wishing to avail of our service will have a comprehensive assessment of their health and social care needs undertaken by one of our Care Managers.

Throughout the assessment process our Care Manager focuses on the needs and preferences of the customer and enables the customer and his / her family member (as appropriate) to participate in making informed decisions about his / her care. From this information a care plan is developed.

The care staff member with the most appropriate skills to meet the customers’ needs will be assigned to carry out the work in the customer’s home. The Care Manager will introduce this staff member to the customer and the care plan will be reviewed in detail with the customer at his or her home.

To support good quality service provision, we at Bluebird Care have developed and implemented robust policies and procedures and clinical guidance documents which support our care practices and are fully compliant with the HSE. In addition, we quality assure our service provision against HSE Home Support & Personal Care Services Service Standards and the HIQA National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare (2012).

It is important that I highlight, in particular, that at Bluebird Care the safety and wellbeing of all customers is paramount and all our staff receive specific training pertaining to safeguarding.

To conclude, we at Bluebird care want to be the best at what we do. This requires a lot of hard work, dedication and a very strong commitment from all our staff. 

We enjoy an excellent relationship with all of our customers and look forward to continuing with this commitment to our customers and their families over the next number of years.

I hope I have provided you with some insight into home care at Bluebird Care and more importantly the reassurance that there is always a realistic option.


Breda Mulvihill

Director of Care, Bluebird Care Ireland

Raftery Becomes Multiple British Rally Champion in Manx Drama

23 year old Dean Raftery recovered from an early event roll in his Bluebird Care backed Fiesta R2 to be crowned MSA British Rally Championship RallyTwo winner on last weekend’s Rally Isle of Man.  Due to the hard work by his team, Raftery and co-driver Aileen Kelly were able to restart the event after their leg one dramas and return to the TT Grandstand in Douglas on Saturday evening as champions.  Not only did they secure the hard fought RallyTwo title, but they also became class BRC2, FiestaSport Trophy and RAVENOL Oils Newcomers champions whilst finishing the championship in third place overall.

Add to the list a Pirelli Star Driver nomination for all their efforts this year and Raftery is undoubtedly one to watch for the future.

The Galway rally star thought his rally was over on just the opening leg of the three day long marathon event when he rolled his Fiesta on only the second stage of the rally. A distraught Raftery was recovered back to the service area later that night where his team set about repairing the damage inflicted by his trip into one of the Manx hedges.  “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as we turned the car upside down” he said. “I knew all I had to do was get to the end of the event but we were just caught out and I really thought that was my championship over. The entire team pulled together and attempted to get us back in the rally; they were amazing, I really can’t thank them enough for all their efforts”.

Thanks to the Super Rally rules and the fact the long event was split into two points scoring opportunities for British Rally Championship contenders, Raftery was able to restart the event on Friday evening and immediately put the past days dramas behind him to make his mark on the stage times.  Tackling the stages under the cover of darkness, he began to rebuild his confidence on the tricky Manx roads to record some impressive times over the remainder of the day’s stages.

Saturday allowed Raftery to begin the day with a clean sheet and was rarely out of the top 10 all day long, confirming perhaps that it really was a simple mistake that caused his early event dramas on Thursday.  Crossing the finish line of the finish of the final stage of the event in front of the famous TT Grandstand, Raftery and Kelly were crowned champions and could take the silverware back to Ireland.
“It really is a dream come true for me to take the RallyTwo win after a season of ups and downs for us” explains Raftery. “We have proved that we have the pace to compete at the front and the consistency has helped us this year.  It’s great to become a multiple champion at only 23 years old and hopefully this will be a stepping stone for me and help further my rallying career.”

Raftery will also receive a free entry to the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB which takes place in November thanks to the MSA British Rally Championship “Road to Wales” initiative and his third overall in the series. Competing against the best drivers in the world will certainly be the one of the toughest tests in his short career so far.

His Pirelli Star Driver nomination for his performance during the year will offer Raftery product support from the tyre manufacturer in 2015 during his motorsport activities and is perhaps the icing on the cake for the likeable youngster. “I really can’t believe the results and titles we have gained this year” he says.  “I’ve always looked to progress my career as far as I can and the Wales Rally GB prize will undoubtedly be the next challenge in that plan. I’m looking forward to seeing what next year holds for us and what opportunities await.  I have to say a huge thank you to Aileen, the team and my all of my sponsors for their continued support; I could not have achieved any of this without them.”

Raftery is sponsored by the nationwide home and care service provider Bluebird Care has continued support from Craughwell Tyre Services, King Car Parts and Black Hawk Fuels.

For more information on Dean and his rallying career, visit www.deanraftery.com