asked the Minister for Health whether any plans are in progress to deal with geriatrics in the general hospital system; and whether it is proposed to have hospitals specialising in the care of old people.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Care of Old People.
The report of the Consultative Council on the General Hospital Services, which I have accepted in principle, has recommended that geriatric assessment units should be included in all regional and general hospitals and should be staffed and administered by physicians of consultant status, trained in geriatrics.
In addition to assessment units at the major acute hospitals, provision will also be made for geriatric units at local centres providing certain limited hospital facilities and also for welfare homes for persons who, while not needing hospital care, cannot continue to live in the community even with the aid of supportive services.
In advance of the implementation of the recommendations of the consultative council, I propose to provide longstay accommodation for geriatric patients in close association with a number of acute hospitals and planning for the provision of units at four different centres is under way.
The further development and improvement of facilities in hospitals and other institutions for care and treatment of the aged will be along these lines and I do not think it necessary or desirable to establish special acute hospitals solely for old people. Hospital treatment for the elderly will continue to be provided in the acute general and specialised hospitals, as appropriate.