A Long Wait

So that’s it! My grumble of last week has already become a reality. The HSE cutbacks are in full swing. One large ward at the public nursing home where my parents reside, has now officially been closed down. Once enough beds have been freed-up (which only occurs when another resident dies) to accommodate the residents from this ward, there will be 20 less long stay beds in the system. As well as this, all further placements for long term care at the nursing home, have been suspended until further notice.

It’s inevitable that this action will cause a negative knock-on effect on public health in the area served by this nursing home. People who are struggling to cope at home with a relative suffering from dementia (who needs round the clock care), are now going to have to wait even longer for help to arrive. The HSE has just cruelly lengthened the queue for long-term beds. If you have an elderly relative in hospital who’s ready to be discharged to a step-down bed in a local nursing home, then their wait in hospital has just got longer. These patients are often unfairly referred to as bed-blockers because of the log jam caused when acute hospital beds are used for long term care. This blockage of acute beds impacts on A&E services where waiting times on trolleys will inevitably increase thereby causing further chaos in emergency departments. Waiting lists for elective surgery will also get longer and operations will be cancelled because of the pressure put on bed allocation.

These delays are all a direct result of the HSE’s decision to restrict funding to one nursing home. Once again, we have no joined-up thinking coming from the HSE. If this action is replicated around the country which no doubt is the plan, then I fear the consequences. Morale in the health service has already been eroded by cutbacks across the service. This latest action from the HSE is enough to make anyone despair.

Help! I think I feel another health crisis coming on.

8 Responses to A Long Wait

  1. Bendy Girl says:

    Sorry to hear about your parent’s nursing home. Why, why, why though don’t any politicians understand the true impact of their ‘cost cutting’ Sigh. BG x

  2. Grannymar says:

    The politicians forget that they will be old and frail some day. At this rate there will be noware for them to go

  3. Steph says:

    BG – luckily my parents have not been affected (so far anyhow) by the ward closure at the home.

    My mother’s ward is the only ‘locked’ unit in the home where dementia patients can be kept safe from wandering so I doubt the HSE will get their hands on it but, you never know! Like the large 20-bedded ward that has been closed, the dementia unit is unfit for purpose but it’s better than nothing! The staff are absolutely fantastic.

    My father started his days in the nursing home in a 20-bedded unit. The conditions there were awful but we didn’t dwell on it as we were just so grateful to have him safely supervised around the clock. Luckily, shortly afterwards he was transferred to a 4-bedded room in the newest part of the nursing home where he’s much more comfortable in a homely environment. Those large nightingale wards (4 of them in total) should have been done away with years ago but there’s been no funding available to replace/re-build them so I presume they’ll just be axed one by one 😦

    Grannymar – with Ireland’s ageing demographics, it makes sense to plan ahead for the needs of an ageing society but as we all know by now, HSE policies don’t make any sense which is why they’re going in the opposite direction.

    At the moment, I’ve got my hopes pinned on my offspring to make their millions/marry rich and allow me to sit on the back of their yacht! 😀

  4. Alan says:

    80-90% of Irish people spend their last days in hospital; what the HSE needs to be spending money on is more nursing homes / hospices, not cutting back. Solving that issue will be a huge stride towards freeing up beds in hospitals for patients who need more acute care. I honestly can’t figure out what myopic reasoning there is behind cutting back in one of the areas that needs funding the most, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing all about it.

  5. Steph says:

    Welcome! Alan and well-said!

    The HSE’s policy of robbing Peter to pay Paul will back-fire on them sooner or later in the form of another health crisis or worse still, a tragedy. As usual, there is no openness, transparency or accountability coming from the HSE. Most people only to get to hear of the HSE’s policies when it’s already TOO LATE!

  6. Ian says:

    There are cutback in health and cutbacks in education, how can we afford the enhanced military capability to which we are committed in the Lisbon treaty?

  7. Steph says:

    Ian – Quite! I have to confess to being very poorly informed on the Lisbon treaty but from what I’ve heard so far, I’m not in favour. Frankly, I think Bertie has had a lucky escape in handing over his hat to Cowen and leaving him to sort out the mess left behind.

  8. […] funds to get people off the streets have also cut back on long-term care beds for elderly people. Steph wrote two weeks ago on a reduction of twenty beds at an excellent public hospital; a reduction that will have a knock […]

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