Discussions are continuing between the HSE West and the Western Alzheimer’s Foundation in relation to the capital plan for the 29-bed respite home for Alzheimer disease sufferers which is to be built at Merlin Park.
The facility will also provide a daycare service and will complement the foundation’s existing homes in Athenry and Ballindine, Co Mayo. When completed, the new home is expected to provide 1,508 weekly breaks to families annually.
Raising the issue at a recent meeting of the HSE’s regional health forum west Cllr Donal Lyons asked when would the unit be fully approved for funding by the HSE and when would construction begin on the site.
Dr Sean Conroy of the HSE West said the capital plan had not been finalised yet but it was very close to completion. He said this was why the health authority could not be more specific about the issue.
Seamus McNulty outlined the HSE had a very contructive meeting with the Western Alzheimer Foundation recently.
Speaking to this newspaper Cllr Lyons stressed the urgent need for the facility in Galway city.
“The WAF has centres like this in Ballindine, Co Mayo, and Athenry and they are very successful. The site is there [at Merlin Park] and planning permission has been got. I hope that negotiations between the HSE West and the WAF will be concluded without delay and that the facility will be up and running as soon as possible.”
Speaking about the project when it was first proposed John Grant, the founder and chief executive of the WAF, said the purpose built unit will provide a lifeline to many local people giving 24-hour care to a family member with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Most people caring for Alzheimer patients want to keep their mother or father or husband at home for as long as possible. Carers in the early stages are very reluctant to let their loved one go even for a week. They think that nobody can give the loving care that they themselves show.”
He says his organisation has built up a reputation for quality care, treating families and clients with dignity and respect.
“We appreciate the help and assistance of members of the Health Service Executive who have supported the foundation for a number of years. We would not have been able to provide the level of care we do without the support of the many groups that have helped over the years.”