Fears are growing for the future of Slievemore House in Galliagh, a specialised Nursing Unit which provides specialist services for those with dementia and mental health issues who present with challenging behaviour.
Speculation about the unit’s possible closure emerged following claims that some families have been informed of plans to transfer family members elsewhere.
However, the Western Health and Social Care Trust have since insisted that “no decision has been made” regarding the future of the 18-bed facility on the Glengalliagh Road in Derry.
Councillor Shaun Gallagher, SDLP representative for the Shantallow area, has spoken to several families affected and voiced concerns that those with challenging behaviour may be relocated.
“There are people with challenging behaviour living in Slievemore House and I can’t, for the life of me, understand how they propose to close this unit down and integrate these people into other homes,” Colr. Gallagher said.
Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion has also been contacted by concerned relatives and she called on the Western Trust to clarify the future of the nursing unit.
“A number of relatives contacted my constituency office on the Racecourse Road concerned that there could be a reduction of services at the Slievemore Nursing Unit or that it may ultimately close.Some of the relatives I spoke to fear that patients will be moved to other locations in the city,” said Colr. McCallion who is seeking an urgent meeting with those responsible for running Slievemore House to clarify the situation and to allay relatives’ fears.
A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said: “Slievemore Nursing Unit (SNU) is a unit providing specialist services for people with dementia who present with challenging behaviour. Placements in the unit are allocated on a temporary basis and are kept under continual review with a view to returning people to their own accommodation or nursing care home where their needs can be met appropriately in the long term.
“The Trust is currently in the process of reviewing Older People’s Mental Health Services for both inpatient and community services. No decision has been made regarding the future provision of services at SNU.”