The family of a Dublin woman who has had to stay in hospital for nearly 10 months are appealing to the HSE to fund her discharge to a specialist centre.
Triona Hanly (55), from Carpenterstown, was diagnosed two years ago with Huntington's Disease, a progressive brain condition, leaving her with deteriorating mobility, speech and other problems.
She has been on a general ward in Connolly Hospital since last December and is one of its 29 "delayed discharges" - patients who do not need acute care but cannot leave until they have step-down support.
Her devoted husband Martin said: "Triona is getting very good care in Connolly and the staff are magnificent and very kind. One of them even brought her back a present from her holidays.
"But the hospital is totally unsuitable for Triona's needs at this stage," he added.
He is appealing to the HSE to fund her discharge to Bloomfield Hospital in Rathfarnham, which has specialist support, including neurologists, as well as physiotherapy and occupational therapy for sufferers of Huntington's.
He said she would qualify for the Fair Deal scheme but this would just cover the cost of her stay in a nursing home, which would not be able to cater for her needs.
"The problem in getting Triona a place in Bloomfield is due to funding," he said.
"Bloomfield Hospital has agreed to accept her but it is dependent on the HSE funding her care.
"It costs €14,000-a-month to provide 24-hour care and I am told the HSE cannot afford it at this stage."
He said his wife had led an active and healthy life until around a decade ago.
It was then she started to experience symptoms, including shaking, which doctors were unable to link to any condition. "The symptoms worsened and Triona suffered very poor co-ordination, staggering and falling."
He said she had gone downhill over the past two years.
"I work as a postman and it became impossible to provide her with the level of care she needs," he said. "Triona ended up suffering a broken arm."
A spokeswoman for the HSE Community Health Organisation (CHO) in Dublin north city and county said: "Unfortunately there is no supplementary funding available under the nursing-home support scheme for additional-care costs.
"In such circumstances, funding has to be identified from within personal resources or available resources within the CHO Dublin north city and county budget allocation.
"All requests for resources are prioritised and approved based on user need and availability of financial resources, which are finite."
The HSE national office said: "Criteria for funding a patient with this disease would be that the patient meets the admission criteria and the placement is suitable to meet the needs of the patient, subject to funding being available."