Staff shortages delay re-opening of nursing home beds

Ongoing staffing shortages in Connemara are to blame for the delay in opening a number of beds at a local public nursing home.

Thirteen beds are currently closed at Aras Mhic Dara community nursing unit in Carraroe, a meeting of the HSE West’s regional health forum was told recently.

Dáithí Ó Cualáin, a forum member and a Fianna Fail county councillor, raised the issue at the meeting which was held at Merlin Park University Hospital.

He said he understood that 13 beds were currently closed in the facility and asked for an update as to why these beds remained closed and when they would be reopened.

Breda Crehan-Roche, the chief officer with Community Healthcare West, outlined there were staffing challenges in rural areas, particularly in Connemara.

She said the health authority was unable to open those beds due to ongoing staff shortages and difficulties recruiting staff.

She added that the HSE has a “rolling” recruitment campaign open to staff nurses and it hopes this will assist in this regard.

Cllr O’ Cualáin also inquired what action the HSE’s Community Healthcare West department has taken regarding re-opening the day centre at Aras Mhic Dara. He said it had been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has not re-opened. He asked for reassurance from HSE management that the centre will re-open.

Ms Crehan-Roche stated the health service recognises the importance of day services as a means of social activity and respite for older people and their carers during the day.

“Older Persons Services has identified a space within Aras Mhic Dara where day services can operate,” she said. “Recruitment for staff continues on a rolling basis and it is hoped, subject to staffing being available, to recommence by the end of April 2023. The centre and management are committed to same.”


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