The Chairperson of the Shaen Hospital Action Committe, Paddy Buggy presented Taoiseach Enda Kenny with an open letter, and a copy of the proposal the Shaen Hospital Action Committee produced for the retention and expansion of Shaen, last Friday evening in Portlaoise.
In the letter, and speaking to the Taoiseach, Mr Buggy reiterated his belief “that the proposal put forward by the Action Committee will ensure that not only should Shaen remain open but that it should be the flagship for implementing the new HSE strategy for the care of patients with dementia and alzheimers.”
He stressed that Shaen was different, in that it was caring for patients with high dependency care needs.
“Its staff are one of the leading teams in Ireland for the care of people with dementia and Alzheimers. It is not practical or possible to subcontract this service out to the private nursing homes because they do not have the expertise to provide this specialised high dependency care and even if they did it would cost multiples of the €800 quoted in the report,” the letter stated.
“The new strategy being introduced by the HSE for the care of patients with dementia and alzheimers is to provide more respite and home care and it will require a team who specialise in this area, such as the staff in Shaen, to make it a success.
“The consultation process will allow our proposal to be teased out and will allow the interested parties to come together to provide a state of the art service in Shaen, which will ensure the best possible care for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimers, and their families.
“Our proposal invites the HSE to work with the Alzheimers Society to provide a Day Care Service in the unused 15 bed ward in Shaen. This service would be provided by Alzheimer Society trained staff and it would be the first such service in Laois. This service would allow sufferers to become accustomed to Shaen for when they need to move on to the Respite service. We see the current staff of Shaen providing the Respite service and the long term stay service, as this is their area of expertise.
“If implemented our proposal would see Shaen become a revenue generator for the HSE as well as the flagship for rolling out this new strategy of care,” the letter stated.
Mr Kenny told Mr Buggy he would read the proposal and make his observations to Deputy Charlie Flanagan. Later Mr Kenny told reporters that all options were open.