Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty, has told the Government that families can’t wait around for the resumption of child and adult intellectual disability respite services in Donegal.
Respite care in the county has been impacted by Covid-19, where centres are operating at a reduced capacity and services are being focused on emergency respite services.
Deputy Doherty contacted the Minister for Health to highlight the difficulties families are encountering while services are suspended.
He appealed to the government to give the matter priority and to give families clear information on a pathway to resume respite care during the pandemic.
Deputy Doherty said: “I have been told that of the four designated respite centres in County Donegal, two of these, Riverwalk Respite House in Inishowen and Drumboe Respite House in Stranorlar, are providing emergency respite services for four adults. This has had an obvious impact on the capacity of these centres to provide respite to the wider population in Donegal.”
“I have also been told that Donegal centres are working at a reduced capacity where some service users have had to isolate, thus requiring a greater amount of space which affects the capacity of the other centres.”
There are no vacant residential places in Donegal for service users in emergency respite care.
The Department of Health said that the Intellectual Disability Service has completed a prioritisation assessment using the National Framework for the Resumption of Respite Services. Those prioritised for respite will be allocated respite in Ballymacool Respite Centre, Letterkenny or Seaview House Mountcharles if this is suitable or they will be offered a home support package to provide respite within their own homes if they wish to avail of this.
“While I understand that other possibilities are being explored to alleviate the capacity issues, this needs to be given priority and we can’t wait around indefinitely while families and their loved ones are in need of respite care and support,” Deputy Doherty said.
He has called for further action from the department:
“While the staff are doing what they can to prioritise respite care for service users based on individual needs, it’s not good enough that we are disrupting the lives of other vulnerable persons when, with a bit of forward thinking, we can provide for all. If this means that we need additional facilities in the county, then this must be immediately explored by the Minister.”