A bright future for successful ageing as sod turned on €48 million facility
(Press release An Roinn Sláinte – Department of Health:) Dublin, 8 October 2014: Minister Kathleen Lynch attended the sod-turning of Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA), Ireland’s first dedicated centre for successful ageing today in St James’s Hospital. Responding to the need for innovation in the delivery of services to Ireland’s growing ageing population, MISA is the realisation of a vision to deliver a holistic approach to successful ageing with prevention, clinical care, research and teaching housed in one central facility.
MISA will be one of the leading European centres for ageing. For the first time in Ireland all age related clinical, research, technological, creative and educational facilities will be housed on a single site in a new dedicated facility which will make patients experience user friendly and streamlined.
The centre for ageing in Ireland will include innovative early diagnostic and rapid access ambulatory care clinics along with in-patient acute assessment centres and rehabilitation and continuing care units. There will be a strong emphasis on research and innovation and technology companies will be afforded access to clinical cohorts in order to develop and advance life-changing technologies that promote successful ageing in concert with clinicians and patients. The new establishment will be fully integrated with the surrounding community allowing models of health and social care to be developed and tested in collaboration with primary care.
The MISA development will cost €48 million and has been made possible with funding from HSE, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Department of Health, and St James’s Hospital in conjunction with Trinity College Dublin. During the construction process 60 jobs will be created, this will increase to 300 construction jobs towards the end of the development. The new facility complies with Dublin City Council plans to encourage development of appropriate new high-quality buildings in Dublin’s south inner city and has been part of St James’s Hospital building master-plan for almost a decade.
Speaking at the site for MISA’s new build Minister for Primary Care, Social Care (Disabilities & Older People) and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch said: ‘MISA’s new build in St James’s Hospital will provide the people of Ireland, for the first time, with one central facility dedicated to successful ageing and is a key step to realising our ambition of making Ireland one of the best countries in the world to grow old in. I am confident that the new establishment will work to reduce isolation, promote security, provide mental stimulation, improve morale and thereby increase quality of life for older people in Ireland.’
MISA director Professor Rose-Anne Kenny said: ‘MISA activities have been growing in volume and impact since 2006 so it will be a really positive step forward for the institute to converge from fragmented locations across the campus in St James’s into one central location by 2016. Ireland’s ageing population is growing at an incredibly fast pace and the establishment of Ireland’s first centre dedicated to care for the elderly is key to ensuring continued research and training in all aspects of health, policy and social care as well as promoting wellness and independent living in the community through technological advancements. The service model of MISA will at all times embrace new innovations and will have built within it a strong research and evaluation process. Today is an important step on the road towards realising our vision for successful ageing in this country.’
Chairman of St James’s Hospital Professor Diarmuid Shanley said: ‘St. James’s Hospital has been to the forefront of developing multi-disciplinary care for older patients in this country for many years. MISA’s new building will combine the very latest architectural advances in design for older people with a cohort of expertise, innovation and research to bring a national centre for excellence in the provision of care for older people to Ireland’s largest hospital.’
Speaking on behalf of the HSE, Michael Fitzgerald (Head of Operations and Service Improvement, Services for Older People) said: ‘Statistics from the CSO show that the number of people aged 80 and over will have quadrupled to over 500,000 by 2060. Supporting Ireland’s ageing population is therefore of critical importance and we are proud to support Ireland’s first dedicated centre for ageing and look forward to seeing MISA’s completed project in 2016.’
Speaking on behalf of Atlantic Philanthropies, which supports programmes focusing on the ageing population as part of its work in Ireland, Mary Sutton said: ‘For more than 30 years, Atlantic Philanthropies has made grants to advance opportunity and lasting change for those who are unfairly disadvantaged or vulnerable to life’s circumstances. At the heart of our work is the belief that all people have the right to opportunity, equity and dignity. We invested in MISA because we understand the difference this new facility can make in helping Ireland’s elderly people grow old successfully.’
The new 7-storey state of the art building is likely to be completed in early 2016 when MISA hope to begin treating patients at the new high-tech facility.
From the left: Rose-Anne Kenny, Director of Mercer Institute, Minister of State for Disability, Older People, Equality & Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch T.D and Theo Cullinane (BAM Contractors Ltd). Picture Conor McCabe Photography.