SINN Fein deputy Gerry Adams and Ardee Town Councillor and county cillor Pearse McGeough have called for retention of St Joseph’s nursing home in Ardee.
In a submission to the HSE on the future of St Joseph’s they have called for “the retention of the existing long stay beds at St Joseph’s Hospital.
The two local representatives describe the care available at St Joseph’s as excellent and point out that it has the “support and confidence of residents and their families”.
They want the retention and expansion of the existing service as well as the development of the site into a campus which would incorporate a sheltered housing/retirement village, a primary care centre and day care complex
The retention of the existing service in the short term coupled with the development of the site as a centre of excellence for the care of the elderly in the longer term is the best option for the future, they said.
“We believe St Joseph’s Hospital in Ardee is a centre of excellence which provides the model of care which the HSE should be supporting and developing rather than closing,” they stated in a submission from Sinn Fein.
“Given that the over 65 population in Louth has increased by 15.9 per cent since 2006 and is likely to continue to increase it is imperative that a high quality elderly care model is put in place, we believe that St Joseph’s Hospital in Ardee should continue to provide a public long stay care beds service. This vital service should be retained and developed for the elderly citizens of County Louth.
“Ardee was the first location in Ireland to be awarded “age friendly” status and so has an opportunity to further develop the existing facilities at St Joseph’s to provide a variety of services on the one site and so establish itself as a flagship for care for the elderly in Ireland.
“Community care for the elderly is vital to prevent older people reaching an acute stage of illness that requires admission to hospital. We believe the Government need to be coming forward with a plan for enhanced provision for elderly members of our community through essential public nursing home beds, respite beds, community care facilities and home care.
“Government plans to close up to 900 public nursing home beds is a totally retrograde step which will only serve to drive more people into expensive private nursing homes.
“In addition recent cuts to Home Help and Home Care Packages have seen almost 1,000,000 hours withdrawn from the system over a 12 month period.
“In Louth home help hours including home care packages has been slashed from 433,351 hours in 2008 to 274,546 by September 2012.
“These services are essential to the health, well-being and quality of life of those availing of them. They allow people to live with dignity and independence in their own
homes and in their own communities, and are a crucial part of community-based healthcare which helps avoid many thousands of acute hospital inpatient hours.”
They also state that the retention of the existing long stay beds at St Joseph’s will mean minimum disruption to the residents present, staff and community.