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Thursday 18 January 2018

What’s the plan to care for elderly? Age Action demands answers of HSE

THE HEALTH Service Executive was called on today to declare how it envisages its future role in caring for the aged in the face of cutbacks from the Government.

Eamon Timmons of Age Action said that following the decision to close another nursing home to new inpatients - this time in Abbeyleix - on safety grounds, the question arose as to what the HSE policy would be for elderly care in the years ahead.

"Is it getting out of nursing home care for older people because safe care can't be provided?" he asked.

Hundreds of local residents attended a meeting in the Co Laois town last night to protest at the HSE's decision to close their unit on a phased basis.

It was revealed that under this plan one resident - who will be 100 years old next month - would be moved because of the cutbacks.

The 28 current long-stay residents are to be transferred to alternative accommodation in the surrounding areas.

And while the plan was to carry out the changes on a phased basis, the Chairman of the Abbeyleix and district Hospital Action Committee, Brian Maher said that families didn't want patients to move and would not co-operate with the HSE plan.

Mr Timmons also pointed out that moving elderly people from familiar surroundings "was very disruptive" to them. Day-care services will continue to cater for the needs of the 90 clients who currently use the service.

In making the recent announcement, the HSE said the decision to close the unit was taken because the safety of patients could not be guaranteed as a result of cuts to HSE services and staff numbers.

It also noted that there was increased difficulty in meeting HIQA Standards, in particular the standard for physical environment into the future.

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