The mother of a 26-year-old woman with severe learning disabilities has called on those responsible to reopen the Killadeas Day Care Centre immediately, which has been used as a drive in Covid-19 testing site.

Sue Barlow’s daughter Serena attended the day care centre in Lackaboy Industrial Estate in Enniskillen five days a week before lockdown. Although, she will attend a different centre, in the same industrial estate, Sue says not having the routine in her daughter’s life has had a negative impact on her behaviours.

Moreover, although she is going to another centre, it will only be for two days a week.

“Since lockdown we are caring for her at home, she does not understand why she is not where she should be and that can cause a lot of behavioural problems,” explained Sue.

“My argument is this, Lackaboy Two, where they are doing the testing, why can’t they move the testing because there are adults who go to this day care and they have had their whole lives shut down and now they are being put somewhere they are not used to with maybe some staff that they are not used to. Instead of moving the testing they are stopping people trying to get back to the new normal.”

Sue has questioned why testing can not be moved to St. Angelo Airport where a National Initiative Testing Centre is located with only the front of the day care facility being used for testing.

“I don’t understand why they have St. Angelo for testing and Lackaboy for testing. Why not have it on one site?”

And with the closure of the day care centre, Serena’s daily routine is not what it used to be.

“Everything that she knows was shut down. She would go Monday to Friday to day care. They would pick her up from the house and take her on the transport bus to Lackaboy and then she would get dropped off back at home at 3.30pm.

“So that’s a big part of her day, seeing her friends and doing activities. She just loves that routine and she is very routine based like a lot of them and then trying to explain to somebody that doesn’t understand, it’s hard.”

Sue has lodged a complaint with the Western Health and Social Care Trust and from speaking to other people she has learned that this has been an issue for other families around the county.

“Everybody is struggling. We have had them 24/7 with very little help since lockdown and any respite we can get for them to get back to a sense of normal is important. It’s not just my daughter I’m sure who is displaying behaviours.

“There will be other people and my daughter’s probably one of the youngest there. If the client is older then the parents are even older and they don’t necessarily have the means to ask for help.”

And if the day care centre continues to be used as a testing centre, Sue wonders when normality will return.

“We just want to go back to some sort of normal for her like we all are doing. We have all struggled but they have struggled as well.

“If testing goes on at Lackaboy Two until next year where does that leave our vulnerable adults?”

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said works are currently ongoing to relocate the Covid-19 testing centre at Killadeas Day Centre to the Hope Centre in Enniskillen and hoped these works will be completed by the start of August, allowing the Killadeas Day Centre to reopen to Service Users soon after.

“It is accepted that Covid-19 remains a public health risk to our population and a phased and flexible approach is needed to restarting services. As a result, the way services are delivered at Killadeas Day Centre, alongside other services may look and feel different. While there are significant challenges ahead, the public should be reassured that we are committed to providing the best possible care in environments that reduce the risk of infection for staff and services users alike. We will continue to work diligently to create Covid-19-safe environments while we rebuild services.”

The spokesperson continued: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, day care support staff have continued to provide an in-reach service to vulnerable clients and their families who had previously availed of day care services.”