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De-Congregation Policy At Residential Centres Must Be Stopped Pending Review

The de-congregation policy with regard to residential care centres caring for people with intellectual and learning disabilities needs to be stopped until a detailed review of services available in the community is carried out.
At the moment a policy of de-congregation of residents who are in care centres and who have learning and intellectual diabilities is being followed, and while a move into the community may be beneficial for many of these patients, there are others ,especially those who have more severe disabilities, who may not have access to the services that they are used to if they are moved out into the community. A review of all services available in the community should be carried out before any decisions should be made to move anyone out of these care centres. Relatives of some of the people who have more complex needs are worried that the excellent services that are available in these care centres will not be available in the community. I am calling today on Minister Harris and Ministers of State McEntee and McGrath to oversee this review.
The situation with regard to Aras Attracta in Swinford is a case in point. We know that there has been problems with the treatment of residents in one section of that facility but I have been contacted by relatives of residents who are in other parts of Aras Attracta who say that the residents are receiving excellent care but are fearful that there are moves to shut down the facility altogether. In recent weeks I understand that a booklet is being read to residents with severe disabilities and if the resident in question smiles while the book is being read then it is being taken as a sign that the patient would favour a move into the community which is bizarre in the extreme. There are residents in facilities like Aras Attracta who have complex needs and who are receiving excellent care and the closure of the facility would certainly not improve their quality of life. This whole issue must be looked at immediately by the Minister and the HSE