News that patients in the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, will have their care plans independently reviewed this week has received a frosty reception in Roscommon-Galway.
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice described the hastiness with which patients’ family members are expected to participate in the review process as cynical and said it was a “tick the box exercise” which added weight to the belief that the HSE is attempting to close the unit by stealth.
“I understand that families are being notified today of intentions to carry out the review this week, with a Consultant Specialist in Psychiatry of Later Life – Dr. Jim Anderson – set to carry it out.
“Given that this independent review was meant to take place by last November, it is unacceptable that families are being notified at such short notice to attend a meeting with the consultant later this week – which may lead to some patients’ family members being unable to meet with the consultant.
“It is imperative that all twelve of the residents in the Rosalie Unit have family members or an appointed advocate who can participate in the review process on their behalf – otherwise the review’s findings would be inadequate.
“The Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, must not renege on the promise that was made to the patients’ family members that this unit would remain open,” he said.
Deputy Fitzmaurice added: “All of the patients living in the Rosalie Unit have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other mental health issues. Many of the patients have been living in the care unit for a number of years and consider it their home. Moving them now would create a lot of undue stress for them”.
Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy also raised his doubts. He said that the late notification sent on Monday by HSE Chief Officer Tony Canavan could mean that the process would be “severely undermined and may not be as comprehensive as it needs to be” if patients’ family members and advocates were not in place prior to the process starting.