First Steps Womens Centre Dungannon

First Steps Womens Centre Dungannon

Wellbeing Programmes

HolisticsThe overall aim of our Wellbeing work is to improve the physical and mental health of women and provide opportunities which will enable them to achieve their full potential.

First Steps Women's Centre (FSWC) has a holistic approach to women’s education and personal development. We strive to anticipate the barriers women may face when they return to education and help them overcome these, for example, providing Childcare and Transport.

The role of the Wellbeing Co-ordinator was created as there was recognition within FSWC that women needed support and education in relation to their health and wellbeing.

Women can face many changes and demands on their health throughout the course of their lives, such as motherhood, menopause, bereavement, divorce, changes in financial circumstances, caring for a family member etc. A number of women who attended our courses were living with long term medical conditions  or mental ill health (some just newly diagnosed). The relaxed comfortable and supportive environment here enables women to confide in Staff about issues which have impacted on their lives. This can include the loss of confidence and self esteem. There were also a number of women who visited FSWC who didn’t feel quite ready to undertake a qualification but wanted to enroll in a short course. Many of these women now start with a Health Promotion course to build up their confidence and then progress on to an accredited course.

It is important to note that many women undertake these courses for enjoyment and the opportunity to get out and meet other women and socialise.

FSWC new Wellbeing Co-ordinator Amanda Boyd has held this post since August 2015. Amanda is qualified in Reiki / Seichim, The Art of Feminine Presence courses / workshops, Coaching and Yoga / Relaxation.

Amanda says "For my personal interest and so I can bring the very best to our participants, I continue to be a student of leadership and personal and spiritual growth learning the most up to date techniques, strategies and systems that simply work. As I apply these strategies and tools , I am passionate about sharing them with others so they too can overcome the same challenges and fears I have experienced and help make a bigger impact in their lives"

Amanda's work is funded through ESF/DFE and The Arts Council.

Keeping warm and eating well in winter

Keeping warm and eating well this winter

Remaining warm both inside and outside your home and eating well can help reduce your risk of serious health problems.

As you get older it takes longer to warm up which can be bad for your health. The cold thickens blood and increases blood pressure, and breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.

Keeping your home warm & safe
As energy bills rise, do you feel nervous about turning up the thermostat at home? Here are some top tips to get a handle on the heating this winter.

  1. The ideal temperature is 64°F (18°C) for your bedroom and 70°F (21°C) for your living room. Check your thermostat or use a room thermometer to monitor temperature, and keep your bedroom window shut on a winter’s night.
  2. Keep windows and internal doors closed when it’s cold – this will keep heat inside, where you most need it.
  3. Draw your curtains, as soon as it gets dark to stop the heat escaping and the draughts coming in. Fit thermal linings to your curtains if you can - this will also help to keep the heat in.

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‘I’m So Lucky It Was Caught Early’

Paula Bradley MLA was diagnosed with cancer when she was just 24 and admits she knew nothing about the disease. It was only much later that she realised how serious the condition can be. As part of Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (22-28 January) Paula joined forces with Cancer Focus NI to urge women to be vigilant and get regular smear tests.



Paula pictured with her parents

“I went to my GP with really debilitating, severe back pain that had been bothering me for a couple of months. I was separated from my husband, and was working and looking after the children, so it was full on.

My doctor suggested I should have a smear test as it had been a while since I’d had one. I thought, ‘Really, why would you do that for a sore back?’

The doctor arrived at my house a couple of days later as it was on his way home from work. He said he needed to speak to me. He told me the smear had come back and there was a problem and that he was going to refer me for further investigation. After more tests I found out I had cervical cancer.

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Funding Public Services In Northern Ireland – What Does This Mean For Health And Social Care?

People are being asked for their feedback on a briefing paper issued by the Department of Finance on how Northern Ireland spends its money.

The Department of Finance says that a number of options are available for balancing the budget and they are intended to inform debate about the issues that will face an Executive Ministers ahead of the new financial year.

Image credit: Flickr

Important decisions need to be made about future public funding, including Health and Social Care and people need to be involved in these decisions.

The briefing paper sets out three scenarios.  These scenarios are not proposed budget settlements and no decisions have yet been taken. Their purpose is to show the kinds of choices that will need to be considered by Ministers in reaching agreement on a Budget, and to help inform debate on public spending.

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The Flu - what you need to know

'Aussie flu' has been making headlines recently, but what is it and how does it differ from the normal flu?

The NHS has been experiencing a bad flu season after a strain, dubbed the ‘Aussie flu’, has spread globally.

Last year in 2017, Australia was hit hard with the flu around winter time – which is around July there – and it caused big problems for the country.

The strain, H3N2, is an influenza A virus – one of the most common types – that appears to cause more severe infections in young children and the elderly.

For those people, and those with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, this strain of flu can be deadly.

'Aussie flu' has been making headlines recently, but what is it and how does it differ from the normal flu?

The NHS has been experiencing a bad flu season after a strain, dubbed the ‘Aussie flu’, has spread globally.

Last year in 2017, Australia was hit hard with the flu around winter time – which is around July there – and it caused big problems for the country.

The strain, H3N2, is an influenza A virus – one of the most common types – that appears to cause more severe infections in young children and the elderly.

For those people, and those with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, this strain of flu can be deadly.

Read more ...

Pressures on Emergency Departments

Maeve Hully, Chief Executive

Over the past few weeks, you might have experience of visiting a very busy hospital Emergency Department, or heard about the pressures facing our Health service on the news. Why is this happening?

The Health and Social Care Board says the number of people attending Emergency Departments has risen by 24% (3,039 patients) since 2013/14 for the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

They have produced information for patients on why our Emergency Departments come under pressure so much around this time of year. Having this information available is useful, so we can all better understand our Health and Social Care system here, and what we can do to help ourselves and go to the right place for care.

There are a range of alternative services that people can access if they do not need emergency care. These include using the online A-Z symptom checker, seeking advice from a pharmacist, going to a Minor Injury Unit, or contacting a GP or the GP Out of Hours services (if their medical condition can’t wait until the GP surgery reopens). People can also check the average waiting times in their local Emergency Department

The Patient and Client Council Care when I need it report shows how much people value the work done by health care staff providing treatment.  It’s anticipated that Emergency Departments and other urgent care services will continue to face pressures in the time ahead, as are other areas in the UK and Ireland.

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The Shared Lives Scheme -H elping People Enjoy Life Together

How The Shared Lives Scheme Is Helping People Enjoy Life Together

Shared Lives Schemes have been running in Northern Ireland for more than 20 years. They were formally known as adult placement schemes and provide care for adults in approved family homes as an alternative to institutional care. In Northern Ireland, Shared Lives Schemes currently focus exclusively on supporting adults with a learning disability. Stephanie and Martin Kenny from Belfast are long-standing Shared Lives carers who provide care for Ann.

“We provide short respite breaks for two adults with learning disabilities through the Families Matter Shared Lives Service and gain so much from having them in our lives.

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How Healthcare Services Are Costing The Earth

Dr Daniel Maughan is a consultant psychiatrist working for the Early Intervention Service at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. He is also the Associate Registrar for Sustainability at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, where he heads up a programme of work looking to improve the sustainability of mental health services. He has published widely on the impacts of climate change on mental health, as well as how to best estimate the carbon footprint of health care.

I am the RCPsych Associate Registrar for Sustainability. Most of you will scratch your heads thinking, ‘What on earth does one of them do?’ The answer to this question can be as long as you like but, in its shortest form, is: I try to reduce the environmental impacts of mental health care. 

What a bizarre thing to do, I hear you say. Why not get an estates person who deals with electricity and gas supplies to do that?

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'New passport designed to ease the journey in hospital'

In May this year, the Public Health Agency, in partnership with the Regional General Hospital Forum for Learning Disabilities, Health and Social Care Trusts, people with a learning disability and their carers, launched a Hospital Passport for people with a learning disability. It’s designed to enable the patient to be independent and as involved as possible in any decisions about their care while in hospital. Gerard McWilliams visited two hospitals to see how the passport is being received by staff.

The Hospital Passport is a booklet in an easy-read format and only takes about 10 minutes to complete. I’d normally ask my support worker to help me, but on this occasion I got a work colleague to assist.

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Caring For Someone At The End Of Their Life

As part of Palliative Care Week 2017 we have published our End of Life Care report, which outlines some key issues in relation to end of life care experiences. Care at the end of life is a significant and important element of all care and the evidence in this report describes how the care received at this time can have a significant impact on patients and their families.

There were three areas highlighted in our report that service users felt needed addressing: communication, coordination of care between healthcare staff, patients and their families, and training for staff who are providing end of life care.

These were the reported issues for end of life care for both unexpected deaths and patients who were terminally ill. These global issues are not new and a lot of work has already been completed to find sustainable solutions to these issues.

There are important messages for service providers, commissioners and policy makers that will be presented for discussion and agreement in the context of future planning of end of life.

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I Was Told Nothing Was Wrong Even Though I Was Having Daily Seizures

Amy Speers is 32 years old and lives in Bangor. For the past seven years, she has been having non-epileptic seizures, which can be difficult to diagnose and sometimes confused with epilepsy. Amy has since created a Facebook page and has written blogs to raise awareness of the condition.

For the past six or seven years, I have been having non-epileptic seizures (NES). These are different to epileptic seizures, which are caused by disrupted electrical activity in the brain.

Read more ...

More Articles ...

  1. The Ongoing Road To Recovery
  2. Ovarian Cancer Awareness - Mary's Story
  3. ‘I Fought The Demons Inside My Head Every Day’
  4. ‘I Was Tangled Up In A Web Of My Own Lies’
  5. Singing Therapy Hits The Right Note
  6. I Believed in Myself
  7. #STILL ME
  8. Parkinson's Information
  9. The Hidden Heartache Of One In Four
  10. Caring For Someone With Huntington’s Disease Means Having To Grow Up Fast
  11. Organ Donation – Having Information To Make Decisions
  12. What’s The Real Cost Of Unused Medicines?
  13. Raising Awareness Of Sarcoma
  14. Patients' Views On Diabetes
  15. What's It Really Like For People Living With Dementia And Their Families?
  16. The Challenges Of Living With Coeliac Disease.
  17. Living with Parkinsons
  18. Nutrition at home
  19. "Understanding The Person, Not The Medication"
  20. Volunteering in Health Care Settings
  21. Living With Postnatal Depression
  22. 'Caring For Someone You Love Is A Privilege'
  23. Increasing awareness and understanding of depression
  24. Life can be a pain
  25. Patients' Access To Their Medical Records – Where Next In Northern Ireland?
  26. Taking about Serious Illness
  27. Living With Endometriosis
  28. Finding Heart In Hopelessness: Caring For Someone With Huntington’s Disease.
  29. Caring For The Dying
  30. Caring For Older People In Their Own Homes
  31. Tom's Story: Living With MS
  32. 7 Day Working For Hospital Consultants
  33. Waiting Times – A Never-Ending Story?
  34. Talking about "Dementiaville"
  35. Are Self-Service Check In Screens A Good Idea?
  36. Waiting in A & E
  37. New PHA Cancer Awareness Programme
  38. Skin may help spot Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease
  39. To Pay or not to Pay - Perscription Charges
  40. Are The Expectations Of Patients Too High?
  41. New European code prescribes 12 ways to prevent cancer
  42. Hypothyroidism - Underactive Thyroid
  43. Endometriosis
  44. Organ Donation
  45. Blood Pressure - know your numbers
  46. Mental Health App available to download for FREE!
  47. Tackling Obesity
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