Revamped Loughloe House opens to new service users

its doors yesterday [Thursday] in its new role as a day centre for mental health and Rehab disability services, following a comprehensive €1m facelift.

Three years after the controversial closure of the HSE-run nursing home, the building has been completely refurbished as a modern centre tailored to the needs of its service users.

It is now home to Athlone Adult Mental Health Services, which previously operated out of the Gentex factory premises, and RehabCare services which have been transferred from The Crescent.

Local councillors and members of the media were given a tour of the facility on Monday prior to its opening yesterday.

The new look Loughloe House, which will be known as Croí Óir, is bright and modern, with dedicated rooms for activities, arts and crafts, music, and client consultations, as well as a library and relaxation room. Clinical nurse manager Rosaleen Heavin explained that in their previous premises in the Gentex building, rooms tended to double up for more than one use.

Other activities on offer in the new facility include literacy training, a film club, flower arranging, pottery, and training in everyday living skills and social skills.

Welcoming the move to the new premises, mayor of Athlone Gabrielle McFadden said, “The last time I was in this building was a sad day, but today is a happy day for adult mental health and Rehab services; they provide a great service and haven’t had good accommodation up to now. I wish both services the best.”

The centre is open Monday to Friday, and provides individualised programmes for 40 service users, including young people and adults with physical, sensory, or intellectual disabilities, people with mental health difficulties, people with autism, and people with an acquired brain injury.

Speaking at Monday’s event, the HSE’s Midlands area manager Joe Ruane said it was “a positive news day for Athlone and the two services coming in”.

“This building has a significant history for Athlone and now is reborn as a day centre. This is the second part of significant investment in Athlone, the first being the Clonbrusk Primary Care Centre which is due to open in 2014,” he said.

Assistant director of Athlone Mental Health Services Michael Hyland said staff and service users had been waiting a long time since the day centre was first opened in the Gentex building.

“We were told not to get too comfortable - I think that was 1987,” he said.

“As a facility this is probably the best in the Midlands.”

General manager with RehabCare Peter McEvitt said the HSE was lucky to have the building for both services, and that the facility would “greatly improve the lives of people with disabilities”.


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