Dáil Éireann - Volume 458 - 14 November, 1995

Written Answers. - Alzheimer Unit.

91. Mr. Hughes asked the Minister for Health the impact the provision of an Alzheimer unit in the Sacred Heart Home, Castlebar will have on the admission of long-stay patients; if waiting times will increase; and the proposals, if any, he has to replace the ward to be used for the above purposes. [16884/95]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan, Limerick East): The development of a dedicated dementia unit at the Sacred Heart Home, Castlebar, is in line with the service requirements for the elderly mentally infirm set out in the reports Planning for the Future and The Years Ahead — A Policy for the Elderly.

The Western Health Board inform me that the temporary vacation of an existing ward at the Sacred Heart Home, Castlebar, to facilitate upgrading and modifications for this purpose will not have any major impact on the availability of long-stay beds or the period of waiting time for such beds. This is due to the fact that an integrated ward,-which was recently upgraded in line with the planning of the dementia unit, has now become available and will make up for the temporary loss of beds. The board assure me that all possible steps have been taken to avoid any increase in the waiting time for a bed in the Sacred Heart Home, Castlebar.

The board state that there will be no need to replace the accommodation designated for dementia sufferers as the overall bed complement in the home will only marginally decline and the accommodation will serve patients who otherwise would be accommodated [242] in different wards thorughout the home.