herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Nursing beds are left vacant after patients refuse to cross Liffey

Minister Kathleen Lynch, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health
Minister Kathleen Lynch, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health

Several beds in a nursing home were left vacant last week after patients refused to travel from the north side of Dublin to the south side.

Mount Carmel Community Hospital closed as a maternity hospital in January 2014 and was reborn as a short-stay nursing home last month.

The HSE purchased the site for €11m and has redeveloped Mount Carmel to provide a range of short-stay, traditional care, assessment and rehabilitation beds.

However, last week 15 convalescent beds could not be filled at the hospital because patients were unwilling to travel across the Liffey to the revamped facility, said a source. The beds have now been filled.

A spokesperson for the HSE confirmed that there were vacant beds at Mount Carmel Hospital as the facility had only recently opened, and added that patients must undergo a process which must be approved before they can move in.

Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch said it was hoped that the facility would free up hospital beds. “People who no longer need to be in an acute hospital but who, for a variety of reasons, cannot immediately go home or to residential care are looked after in a more appropriate environment,” said Lynch.

“This community hospital can provide non-acute services, in a calmer and more holistic way.”

The new facility has had a phased opening since April and to date 100 residents have been admitted to the renamed Mount Carmel Community Hospital, where the patients

have had an average stay of 24 days.

Support

Minister Lynch said transitional care beds and short-stay support beds were provided, along with access to a number of services.

The hope is that it will provide a much-needed relief to some of the overcrowding which is set to leave emergency departments struggling again this winter.

Initially, Mount Carmel was taking patients from hospitals on the north side of Dublin, but it is now receiving referrals from other hospitals.

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