The Butterfly Scheme has gone international!

This month saw the first launch of the Butterfly Scheme in the Republic of Ireland. Galway University Hospital, which is part of the Saolta group of hospitals, is the first hospital outside the UK to adopt the scheme. Within the UK, of course, the scheme’s reputation goes before it, so hospital teams are typically already enthusiastic and raring to go when we meet them – but how would our reception be when the team had no such recommendations to go on?

The welcome that met us in Galway was both humbling and heartwarming. Whilst this is a hospital team proud of its care, the staff were aware of the need to further build their dementia care skills and they were effusive in their appreciation of the teaching sessions. It helped, of course, that the leadership team’s preparations had been energetic and thorough; there had, in fact, been a Butterfly Scheme Steering Group working with the two Butterfly Scheme Leads, Orla and Ellen, over recent months, to ensure that every possible support was in place.

Joe Travers Photography

Joe Travers Photography

On the first day, an official launch ceremony took place, including not only many senior figures from the hospital, but also Keith Finnegan from local radio station Galway Bay FM; Keith then interviewed me live on his show the following morning. I was also glad to meet Carmel Geoghegan, founder of AG Networks, who is working to build dementia awareness in Ireland and is a great advocate of the scheme.


Thank you to all at Galway for embracing the Butterfly Scheme as you have – and thank you to Butterfly Scheme teams across the UK for the wonderful messages of fellowship sent to their new colleagues!