Alzheimer's anguish for Carn woman
by Damian Dowds, Inishowen Independent
A Carn woman whose husband has been receiving
respite care at the Alzheimer’s Unit in the local
community hospital has appealed to the public to
attend a meeting in the town tomorrow night as part
of the fight to retain the service, which is under
threat of being downgraded as part of Government
Maura Doherty, whose husband John suffers from
Alzheimer’s, said it would be a “mortal sin” if the
unit was closed.
A meeting will be held in the Colgan Hall tomorrow
night, Friday, 8pm and a large turnout is expected.
Four of the Ard Aoibhinn Alzheimer’s Unit’s 16 beds
have already been closed, and there is concern that
further cuts will be imposed with the Government
seeking the closure of almost 900 such beds in
facilities across the country.
“It would be so, so wrong to take this unit away
from the local community,” Mrs Doherty said.
“And it’s not just the patients who would be
affected, but also their families.
“Until you live with someone with Alzheimer’s, you
can’t appreciate how stressful it is. And to get
John placed in the local unit for periods of time
has been a great relief.
Her husband has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for
two years, and has been receiving respite care in
the Ard Aoibhinn unit for the past six months.
“The staff there are brilliant, and the unit is well
“And it helps that he is local to us as the family
can conveniently visit him. If he was sent somewhere
further away would be more disorientated and it
would be harder to visit him as often as we do.
“It’s a great relief to have him in a local hospital
where he can be comfortable.”
Mrs Doherty appealed to the public to attend the
meeting and help form a campaign to retain services
“We’re hoping that all the people in Inishowen will
support this cause. If they don’t, our services will
be taken away.
“We mustn’t be seen as a soft touch.
“No one knows when a family member will be affected,
and you wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
Then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
officially opens the Ard Aoibhinn Alzheimer's unit
in Carndonagh back in March 2007.
politicians are working to make the case for
retaining services at Carndonagh.
Carrigart-based TD Joe McHugh said he is in ongoing
contact with health minister James Reilly about the
hospital. His Fine Gael party colleague Cllr Bernard
McGuinness said: "Carndonagh Community Hospital is
an important local service. As a Member of the HSE
West Forum I will continue to work with the HSE and
with Joe McHugh to ensure that services at our
community hospital are protected."
Sinn Féin representatives Pádraig MacLochlainn and
Cllr Jack Murray met senior HSE staff in Dublin
"We also raised Buncrana Nursing Unit and the HSE’s
plans there. Both Buncrana Nursing Unit and
Carndonagh Community Hospital were fought for and
part funded by local communities and if the
Government or anyone thinks that we will stand by
and watch them being squeezed further, then they are
in for a shock".
While also supporting the Carn campaign, Fianna Fáil
TD Charlie McConalogue says the Minister for Health
has signed off on the closure of hundreds of public
beds in community nursing homes.
“I am seeking urgent clarification from the Minister
on what constitutes a smaller unit to determine if
Buncrana will be considered for closure.”