| 18.1°C Dublin

Residents and families 'very angry' at closure of Cork care facility during Covid-19 pandemic

Close

Home employee Majella Lynch, relatives of residents Caroline Levin and Mary Lynch pictured at a meeting at Neptune Stadium, Cork following the announcement that the local respite home Mount Cara will close.
Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provisions

Home employee Majella Lynch, relatives of residents Caroline Levin and Mary Lynch pictured at a meeting at Neptune Stadium, Cork following the announcement that the local respite home Mount Cara will close. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provisions

Home employee Majella Lynch, relatives of residents Caroline Levin and Mary Lynch pictured at a meeting at Neptune Stadium, Cork following the announcement that the local respite home Mount Cara will close. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provisions

NURSING home residents, their families and staff expressed anger and upset at the decision to confirm the closure of a major care facility at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mount Cara House in Cork wrote to the families of residents outlining the planned closure of the facility.

The board of management of the Blackpool nursing home said it will now shut down entirely.

Mount Cara board blamed the decision on the Covid-19 pandemic challenges and occupancy rates.

"The new challenges posed by Covid-19, along with the reduction in occupancy have led to this decision. Mount Cara is a residential facility for older people and although it complies with Nursing Home Standards, it is not covered by the Fair Deal Scheme for residents.

"The increased provision of sheltered housing, home care packages and home help supports have also impacted on the demand for Mount Cara services."

A total of 15 elderly residents are currently cared for at Mount Cara - some of whom have been there for years.

Fred Richmond, whose 98-year-old father has been resident at Mount Cara since last February, said families are upset and frightened.

"My father is 98-years-old - he grew up in Blackpool. He played hurling with the North Mon and the Glen. So this is his heartland," he said.

"I have not seen my father since the lockdown to keep him safe. This is the most dangerous time for old people since the Spanish Flu.

"This (closure) comes at a time when Covid-19 is rampant. We are being told that under no circumstances should people be mingling - this flies in the face of that. So this is very frightening news.

"We were just told it will close in a number of months.

"There are people in that nursing home up to 100 years of age - they have been kept safe, happy and infection-free at Mount Cara. And now they are being told they have to move? Maybe move to a shared room? We are very angry because this came out of nowhere."

Mr Richmond said all nursing homes across Ireland have massive waiting lists.

"It is very, very frightening. The staff have been tremendous and they will be out of work now and depending on a €350 Covid payment. It is all wrong."

Mount Cara has operated as both a long-term care facility and also for respite care.

A recent Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report was highly complimentary of how the facility operated with residents described as being very happy there.

Staff member Majella Lynch said they have not been given a precise closure date - or what will happen to the 20 staff employed there.

Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould has now called for Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to personally intervene to determine precisely why the highly regarded facility was closing.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for the families and staff in Mount Cara House but they rose to the challenge and they managed to keep the facility Covid-19 free and keep the residents safe and happy," he said.

"The loss of Cara House would be a devastating blow to the northside of Cork city. People should be cared for in their own communities and these residents have made Cara House their home. The staff and other residents are like family to them and it would be a disgrace if the HSE allow this to close.”

Online Editors