Keane’s CarePlus Pharmacies recently became the first pharmacies in Ireland to be accredited as autism friendly by Ireland’s national autism charity, AsIAm.
This landmark day was the culmination of an accreditation process that included specific staff training and the implementation of significant changes to each of the four pharmacies in the Keane’s CarePlus Pharmacy group in Mullingar and Enfield.
The journey to accreditation began when Keane’s CarePlus Pharmacy hosted an autism information seminar in Enfield last year. During this seminar, Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm spoke about the challenges that many autistic people can face in their daily lives and in particular, in retail environments such as community pharmacies. As many as 1 in 65 people are considered to be on the autism spectrum so it is clear that society at large needs to do more to improve accessibility.
At the ribbon-cutting event, John Keane, owner of Keane’s CarePlus Phamacy declared,
“We realized that we were not responsive to the specific needs of many people who come to our stores. From working with AsIAm, we became aware of these needs and we have made significant changes in our business to accommodate people on the autism spectrum.”
John also outlined what was involved in achieving the autism-friendly accreditation, “Probably the most important thing is that we have trained all of our staff and they have become certified. All of our shop plans are now available online, we’ve softened our music to be much more gentle, we have fidget boxes and safe spaces available in all of our stores. Overall, it provides a much more accessible and welcoming environment.”
Aside from this accreditation process, Keane’s CarePlus Pharmacy also recently raised significant funds for AsIAm through a charity fun bingo night in Enfield and a 5km family fun run in Mullingar. John Keane noted, “We’re very proud to support AsIAm’s efforts to enhance awareness about autism and to improve accessibility for autistic people within our communities and we hope that many other local businesses will follow suit in doing the same.”
The CarePlus Pharmacy website can be accessed on careplus.ie