The HSE has informed the Department that there are currently 1,047 people under the age of 65 years who are resident in nursing homes under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. A diagnosis is not required under the Nursing Home Support Scheme, so we are not in a position to clarify how many of these have an Acquired Brain Injury. Although most families would prefer to be able to care for their loved ones at home, hospital/nursing home care is at times necessary and it forms part of the continuum of care. The Nursing Home sector is used in developing options to meet the needs of young adults with a disability where no other alternatives are possible. The HSE need to regularly review these individuals to see if through their care plan a more appropriate option might be available. In the longer term the policy is to develop a more tailored service suitable to meet the needs of these service users.
The Health Service Executive provides for the health needs of those affected by brain injury through a range of measures. Brain injury health services are provided across a range of settings, by different organisations and by many health professionals and carers. The HSE Clinical Strategy and Programmes Directorate have a number of clinical programmes that are working in the area of neurology, including Neurology, Epilepsy, Stroke and Rehabilitation Medicine. The clinical programmes are focusing on reducing waiting times/lists, addressing disease specific pathways and models of care with a view to developing a national framework for the management of long-term neurological conditions. The HSE also provide services for those with brain injury through Primary Care Teams with community based therapy services and personal social services. Substantial funding is also provided to a number of organisations such as Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Headway Ireland, Enable Ireland, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland among others, to provide supports and services to people with a neurological condition.
Last year, the Government, announced an additional €15 million for the redevelopment of the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire. This allocation will enable the National Rehabilitation Hospital and the HSE to proceed with a new 120 bed building on the Dún Laoghaire campus. The redeveloped facility will be purpose built to accommodate integrated therapy services, hydrotherapy and sports facilities.
The Government recognises that neurological illness or injury has significant implications for the individual and their family and impacts on their health, social, educational, vocational and recreational participation. It is important that the continuum of services and supports required are made available by the health system and by those other State agencies to provide specific services, consistent with their statutory remit.