‘End Lisgarel’s no admission policy’ – campaigner urges

Audrey Barr and her mother Kathleen Christie pictured at Lisgarel residential care home in Larne.  INLT 31-676-CON
Audrey Barr and her mother Kathleen Christie pictured at Lisgarel residential care home in Larne. INLT 31-676-CON
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The daughter of a resident at Lisgarel residential care home in Larne has vowed to continue the fight to save the facility from closure.

As previously reported, the Northern Trust had announced its intention to close all of its state-run residential homes, including Lisgarel, as part of sweeping reforms of elderly care provision.

But DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots was forced into an embarrassing climbdown over the proposals following a huge public outcry.

Despite this u-turn, Audrey Barr, whose mother has lived at Lisgarel for two-and-a-half years, has warned that the facility still faces the axe due to the Trust’s ongoing ‘no new admissions’ policy.

Audrey, who is part of a local lobby group called Friends of Lisgarel, said: “What were are trying to do now is get the no admissions policy that is in place for a lot of the homes overturned.

“If it is kept up, the homes are going to be run down and the argument will be that there’s no need for them.”

Audrey described the level of care provided at Lisgarel as “second to none” and spoke of her fears for her mother’s health should the care home close.

“Lisgarel may not be the most modern of facilities, but it is homely and my mum loves living there,” Audrey added.

“She has her own room, she is well-fed and the staff take her and other residents out on trips.

“The facility has beautiful surroundings and the residents are kept well-stimulated with a variety of activities such as bingo and armchair aerobics.

“My mum is 84-years-old and suffers from dementia. She is not able to look after herself, so if Lisgarel was to close the only option for her would be to go into a private nursing home.

“I don’t think some nursing homes are up to the same standard as Lisgarel, so I wouldn’t be happy sending my mum there.”

Audrey described the uncertainty surrounding Lisgarel’s future as a “nightmare” for her family.

“This whole situation is putting a lot of stress on my family and on my mum, who shouldn’t have to go through this at this stage of her life,” she added.

“My mum grew up in Belfast and lived through the Troubles, and now the government could throw her out of her house.

“There is also the staff to think about. They do an excellent job at Lisgarel and couldn’t do more for the residents.

“What will happen to their jobs should Lisgarel close?”

Audrey and other members of Friends of Lisgarel joined a contingent of East Antrim residents at Stormont last month to press the case for the survival of local care homes.

“I hope Mr Poots realises that old age will come to him one day as well.”

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