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Irish Traveller’ Ethnic Minority Group – Chronic Conditions Community Heart Health Pilot Programme

Authors: Ann Marie Lawlor , Claire Fitzpatrick, Seathrun O’Casaide

Abstract “Given their high mortality, likely high incidence, and low appreciation of the risk factors in the community, it is appropriate to mount an opportunistic cardiovascular disease risk factor detection programme for Travellers” (All Ireland Traveller Health Study 2010). Under the social determinants of health model, the ‘Irish Traveller’ community is recognised as a minority ethnic group with inequalities impacting on their health and wellbeing. The South East Traveller Health Unit Strategic Plan 2015-2020 prioritised cardiovascular health as a pillar of change for this community.The ‘Irish Traveller’ Health Unit, Social Inclusion Department, HSE Area 5 developed the ‘Irish Traveller’ Ethnic Minority Group – Chronic Conditions Community Heart Health Pilot Programme. It is established around the existing Community ‘Irish Traveller’ Health Workers structure (HSE Section 39 funded Health Workers from the ‘Irish Traveller’ Community) and is led by Ms. Ann Marie Lawlor, Regional Liaison Nurse, ‘Irish Traveller’ Health, HSE Area 5.The aim of the pilot programme is to engage the ‘Irish Traveller’ community (over 18s) in this health promotion / disease prevention initiative; empower the ‘Irish Traveller’ community to recognise modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease and enable self-care of identified risk factors; support self-care through peer support from within the ‘Irish Traveller’ community, which is culturally appropriate in relation to their norms, traditions and experiences, optimising informed access to appropriate primary care services, including the GP.A 6 week training programme for Community ‘Irish Traveller’ Health Projects, “Ticker Heart Health Training” was developed and piloted in one area. Following evaluation, the “Self-assessment of Risk Factors” screening tool was developed and the training programme was revised. In view of literacy issues in this community, innovative methods including demonstrations and accessible literature was developed. A user-friendly self-rating screening tool focusing on 9 modifiable lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular disease was developed. A pictorial personal action plan relating to health improvement initiatives was also developed.’Irish Traveller’ Health Workers and their Co-ordinators received training through the Health Promotion Department in relation to improving modifiable lifestlye risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and they support those engaging in the programme.In situations where an identified risk factor for cardiovascular disease requires medical assessment, the individual is advised and signposted to their GP while supported to remain engaged in the lifestyle modification programme.The local GPs will receive an information pack outlining the programme and encouraging ongoing engagement for their patients with the lifestyle modification initiatives as outlined.This programme will be piloted in Wexford in Quarter 1, 2017 and extended across all of HSE Area 5 region. Following evaluation there is potential for national rollout of the project thereafter.The impact of this programme will be evaluated in Wexford over a 3 month period through monitoring the numbers engaging, and remaining engaged; repeating the Self-assessment of Risk Factors screening tool to look for changes in cardiovascular risk over a 3 month period and monitoring the number of people who were advised and signposted to their GP.This programme is supported by a GP and HSE Transformation Development Officers and HSE Social Inclusion Services.


inequality, engage, empower, literacy, sefl-care, access

How to Cite:

Lawlor AM, Fitzpatrick C, O’Casaide S. ‘Irish Traveller’ Ethnic Minority Group – Chronic Conditions Community Heart Health Pilot Programme. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2017;17(5):A562.

DOI: on 17th October 2017