Dementia care within Fermanagh has been dealt another blow with the news that the Graan Abbey Nursing Home has suspended admissions for patients with the condition.

The Graan Abbey Nursing Home and the County Care Home are the only two care homes in Fermanagh that offer dementia services.

The County Care Home has no dementia beds open at present and now that the Graan Abbey has suspended admissions as there is no capacity within care homes in the county for those waiting for dementia care.

The news follows the case of Eamon McGullion (82) who is blind and suffers from frontal lobe dementia, and who was the last resident in Drumclay Care home before its closure last week.

At present Mr. McGullion is an inpatient at South West Acute Hospital as there is no other bed available in the area. He was offered a dementia bed in a care home in Derry/Londonderry.

Two days before the closure of Drumclay Care Home the family of Mr. McGullion had been informed that a place was available at the Graan Abbey Nursing Home, however the next day they were told that this was no longer the case.

The Graan Abbey is currently under a failure to comply notice in relation to the storage and distribution of medication from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQAI). They must demonstrate that they have made the changes required by January 15.

The Impartial Reporter asked several questions to Carewell Homes, who own the Graan Abbey, regarding their dementia provision and their admission policy for dementia patients now that they had been issued with the failure to comply notice. In a statement they said:

“Carewell Homes has made the voluntary decision to suspend admissions to the dementia unit and, as a result, is not receiving new residents into the unit at this time.”

Mr. McGullion, who has complex care needs and cannot be cared for at home, was assessed for his needs on November 30 by the Western Health and Social Care Trust, 12 days before the closure of Drumclay Care Home. His family had been informed that a general nursing bed was available at the County Care Home and that during the day Mr. McGullion would be transferred to the dementia unit.

However, the family were told that due to the assessment that this was not deemed to be adaquete for Mr. McGullion and that a 24-hour dementia place would be needed. It was at that point, just two days before Drumclay Care Home was due to close, that the family were told that a place was available at the Graan Abbey. This offer lasted less than 24 hours however as the family found out the next day that no place was no available.

Mr. McGullion, who is from the Monea area, is currently an inpatient in South West Acute hospital. In a statement last week the Trust said that nursing care in the community was something that it wanted to make people “proud of in the future”.

“Under the Pathfinder Project the Trust are undergoing a considerable engagement process where we will engage closely with this, and all, communities to determine the best future provision of residential and nursing care across the Fermanagh and West Tyrone region. This engagement is now underway and from all feedback given, we will endeavour to develop a model of community bed provision we can all be proud of in the future.”