50-year-old man in Dundalk step-down facility 'feeling hopeless' after nine weeks waiting


David Lynch


David Lynch

50-year-old man in Dundalk step-down facility 'feeling hopeless' after nine weeks waiting

50-year-old man in Dundalk step-down facility 'feeling hopeless' after nine weeks

A local man who has been waiting for a homecare package to kick-in to allow him to leave hospital, has been stuck in a step-down facility at the Louth Hospital in Dundalk for nine weeks and is now "feeling hopeless" according to a Louth TD.

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Imelda Munster has slammed the HSE for what she calls its "penny-wise and pound-foolish policy in targeting Home Care Packages in an effort to cut costs."

Deputy Munster said she has already raised the case of the 50-year-old man in the Dail and with the Minister for Health, but the wait goes on she adds.

“This 50-year-old man who has been languishing in a completely inappropriate setting in a unit with mainly elderly patients suffering from dementia for the last nine weeks desperately wants to go home. He is in a fragile mental state as well as having picked up several hospital infections but was told over a month ago by his HSE social worker that a Home Care Package would be arranged for him but that it would take a couple of weeks."

She added: “However, as the weeks have dragged on he has become more and more depressed and has been seen by a psychiatrist because he is feeling hopeless at this stage. Despite the fact that his house has already been fitted out with all the necessary equipment by the HSE they will not give him the 26 hour per week home care that he needs so that he can recover in the peace of his own home. This is all because they cannot fund it.
Deputy Munster explained the background to raising the issue with the relevent authorities.

“I first raised this case with the Minister for Health and the HSE two weeks ago and the response I have today received from the HSE is that, ‘[a] business case totalling 26 care hours per week was submitted for approval. Regrettably the HSE is not in a position to fund the business case at this time.’

She added: “It costs €5,964 per week to care for someone in a hospital bed whereas to grant this man the 26 hours home care package that he needs would come in at approximately €546 per week.

“The decision to leave this 50-year-old man in hospital is both illogical and irresponsible. Put simply, care delivered in the home allows vulnerable people to live with dignity and respect and it is widely known that this has significant mental and physical health benefits.