Written Answers. - Residential Accommodation for Elderly.

Tuesday, 20 June 1995

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 454 No. 6

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  103.  Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn  Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn   asked the Minister for Health  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   his views on whether the provision of geriatric residential care should be on a site close to or on the campus of an acute hospital or a purpose-built single storey unit for safety and efficiency purposes. [11144/95]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan,: Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Limerick East): In the first instance, responsibility for the provision of long-stay accommodation for the elderly lies with the health boards.

The report The Years Ahead — A Policy for the Elderly, published in 1988, recommended that existing geriatric hospitals/homes, long-stay district hospitals and welfare homes be developed as community hospitals, where appropriate, to provide a range of services for the elderly and their carers. The health strategy published last year, builds on this recommendation and provides for the building of eight small-scale nursing units in the community by the end of 1997 to replace unsuitable accommodation and to meet the needs of the expanding population of older people.

I am committed to a capital programme over the next few years which will improve long-stay health board care facilities for the elderly in each of the eight boards. I am currently considering a number of proposals from the health boards regarding the development of new and the re-organisation of existing units for the elderly. New or improved accommodation will normally be provided in the community with close links to the specialist departments of medicine for the elderly in general hospitals. [1395] The number of storeys of accommodation for the elderly depends on a variety of factors, such as the lay-out of the site, the level of dependency of the elderly and the planning requirements of the relevant local authority.

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