92-year-old in hospital for 70 days due to lack of home help hours

Sligo cardiologist says man could do well at home with ‘just a bit of assistance’

A consultant cardiologist said the elderly man is bed-blocking through no fault of his own. Photograph: Getty

A consultant cardiologist said the elderly man is bed-blocking through no fault of his own. Photograph: Getty


A 92-year-old man has spent more than 70 days at Sligo University Hospital despite being medically fit to be discharged for at least 60 days, it has emerged.

The case has been highlighted by consultant cardiologist, Dr Donal Murray, who believes that lack of home help hours is the reason for the man’s prolonged stay in hospital.

The consultant who described the case as “crazy stuff” said it was a miracle that the man had not caught a bug on the ward, or had not fallen and broken his hip “as will often happen with elderly people in hospital”.

He said the man who lives on his own in a remote rural area, was a classic example of someone who would do very well at home with just a bit of assistance from a home help who could keep an eye on him, and do a bit of work around the house.

In an interview with Ocean FM Dr Murray said it was an “extraordinary” situation.

He said that from the man’s point of view, the longer he remained in hospital the more difficult it would be for him when discharged.

And he pointed out that the hospital had had a surge in referrals from the emergency department in the last month or two while many patients were on corridors.

“And this poor man through no fault of his own, to use that very crude term, is blocking a bed on people who are needing a bed, and it is absolutely no fault of his,” added the cardiologist.

On April 9th last there were 50 patients on trolleys in Sligo University Hospital, the second highest figure in the country that day, according to figures compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

Dr Murray said the 92-year-old who on Friday was on his 71st day in Sligo hospital, had been admitted with cardiac issues which were resolved very quickly “within a week really”. He said the man was fit to be discharged for at least 60 days.

The consultant said something had gone wrong with funding for the home help system and it needed to be addressed urgently. He said he had written to “anyone in management I can think of” but had heard nothing back. He had heard on the grapevine that funding for home help was the issue.

Dr Murray added that in the run up to the election “this is one question I will be putting to anyone coming to my doorstep looking for a vote – what is happening with our home help system in this part of the world”.

The HSE has been asked for a comment .