Fears for future of dementia centre


Sir, – There comes a time in one’s life, for most people, when their life directly intersects with the State and the decisions this leviathan makes.

On a personal note, in my case, this intersection is with my father and the fact that he is in the care of one of the most wonderful nursing homes anyone could ever realistically hope for, St Joseph’s Shankill, Dublin. Yet remarkably the Health Services Executive of Ireland seems willing to allow this outstanding beacon in dementia care quality to shut down (“Funding crisis forces Dublin dementia centre to stop taking new residents”, Home News, December 1st).

The expected lifespan, which incidentally my father has surpassed, of a person living in Ireland is 81.61 years, according to the World Bank, and so with “more than 4,000 people living with dementia under the age of 65” and with this number “set to double in the next 20 years and treble in the next 35” according to a 2016 report from the HSE.

One does not need to be a mathematician to see what trend is being set before our very eyes, and therefore one can wholeheartedly agree with the statement Simon Harris made in the Dáil last week, that “the government should be rolling out St Joseph’s model around Ireland, not forcing it to close”.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly said recently that the CEO of St Joseph’s, Emma Balmaine, “needs €1,785 per week, per resident,” which is less than what “numerous HSE nursing homes are getting paid”, so St Joseph’s “is simply asking to be paid what the HSE pays itself.”

Is this really too much to ask? – Yours, etc,