‘Don’t let apathy be downfall of Lisgarel’: client’s plea

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A FORMER patient at Lisgarel has urged the Larne public to take a stand against the Northern Health Trust’s plans to close the facility.

Sweeping reforms currently being considered by Health Minister Edwin Poots involve a proposal to shut the 11 residential homes in the Northern Trust area, including Lisgarel in Larne. The Trust proposes to use private care homes and an enhanced care package aimed at enabling more older people to remain in their own homes.

However, Old Glenarm Road resident Imelda Martin, who has been a patientat Lisgarel, has blasted the trust’s controversial proposals as “dreadful” and “outrageous”.

Imelda was delighted with the “outstanding quality of care” she received at the residential home when she was a patient on a respite basis, and has described the 41-bed Gloucester Park facility as “something for the people of Larne to be deeply proud of”.

She told the Larne Times: “Having been a patient at Lisgarel on two occasions – once last year and earlier this year – I cannot emphasise enough the excellent quality of care that I received.

“It has a relaxed and restful atmosphere, just as if you were in your own home. In terms of hygiene, the staff ensure that the facility is kept scrupulously clean. The food is marvellous and if there is something on the menu you don’t like, they will go out of their way to find an alternative for you.

“It is a first-rate care facility with first-rate staff and I cannot praise it highly enough. I have been a patient in private care homes and have found that the quality of care doesn’t compare to residential homes like Lisgarel.”

Imelda acknowledged that while most people would rather be cared for in their own homes rather than a care facility, she added: “Not everyone can be treated in their own home and not everyone has a home to be treated in. The idea of closing all residential homes in the Northern Trust area is ludicrous and I hope that local people will stand up and make their voices heard.

“This is an issue that affects all of us, as we will all grow old some day, or have elderly relatives who will need to be cared for in some capacity.”

Imelda warned that a lack of public interest could end up being the downfall of Lisgarel, and claimed apathy had contributed to the closure of Moyle as an acute hospital.

“I don’t want the same thing to happen to Lisgare. The people of Larne need to realise the vital role this residential home plays in the local community and I hope that they will lend it their full support. This facility needs to be retained,” Imelda concluded.

In the coming weeks, the Patient Client Council, which represents the views of those using the health service, will be running a series of information sessions throughout Northern Ireland to let people know of changes to the trust’s services. The public can attend and put their views to a senior health service panel.

For more information about the roadshows, visit www.patientclientcouncil.hscni.net/news/view/what-does-transforming-your-care-mean-for-me-and-my-family