Neuro-rehabilitation services must be properly resourced

 

Sir, – Prof Joe Harbison’s piece concludes that “those least able to articulate their case will end up with the worst care” (“Stroke patients are no less deserving than cancer patients”, Opinion & Analysis, June 14th). This is not just true for people with stroke but for all the people in Ireland living with an acquired or progressive neurological condition.

Neuro-rehabilitation services are essential for people living with a neurological condition. They promote recovery and prevent and delay disability. They enable people to go to work, contribute meaningfully to family and community life and most significantly avoid becoming dependent on already severely restricted health services. Without such services, people remain unnecessarily in hospital, exist in nursing homes that are not suited to their needs or continue to live with families who are not able to cope.

However, neuro-rehabilitation services are still underdeveloped and under-resourced. Our health service needs to wake up to the reality that we must build decent, well-resourced neuro-rehabilitation services for people from hospital to home.

Rehabilitation is not being resourced in our hospitals and communities. It is not seen as a vital and essential component of our health services. Until we recognise its centrality, people with neurological conditions will remain excluded, isolated and their human rights abused. This voiceless group will, like Prof Harbison says, continue to be the “losers” in this game of competing political priorities and media attention. – Yours, etc,

MAGDALEN ROGERS,

Development Manager,

Neurological Alliance

of Ireland;

BARBARA FLYNN,

Chief Executive,

Ataxia Ireland;

TOM SCOTT,

Chief Executive,

Spina Bifida

Hydrocephalus Ireland;

PAULA GILMORE,

Chief Executive,

Parkinson’s Association

of Ireland;

BARBARA O’CONNELL,

Chief Executive,

Acquired Brain Injury

Ireland;

TINA LEONARD,

Head of Advocacy

and Public Affairs,

Alzheimer Society

of Ireland;

RICHARD STABLES,

Support Manager,

Headway Ireland;

JOHN LINDSAY,

Chairman,

Chronic Pain Ireland;

CLIONA LOUGHNANE,

Policy and Research

Manager,

Irish Heart Foundation;

KATHLEEN O’MEARA,

Director

of Communications,

Public Affairs

and Fundraising,

The Rehab Group.