There are only two community neurorehabilitation teams in Ireland, despite nine teams being required.
There are only two community neurorehabilitation teams in Ireland, despite nine teams being required. This means that only 15% of neurological patients in Ireland have access to teams that provide vital care to support their recovery.
In CHO Area 6 (which includes Wicklow, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin South East), funding for a community neurorehabilitation team has been in place since 2020 but no team has been established.
The shortfall was highlighted by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) today at the launch of a new campaign seeking a commitment from elected representatives and the HSE to tackle the absence of a community neurorehabilitation team in CHO Area 6.
Speaking at the launch, Magdalen Rogers NAI Executive Director, said:
“Once a person receives a diagnosis of a neurological condition, they need to be supported in their recovery and the management of their condition. That’s what a community neurorehabilitation team does. It brings together health care professionals from a range of disciplines such as an occupational therapist, a speech and language therapist, a physiotherapist and a clinical psychologist to enable a person living with a neurological condition to live well."
Ms Rogers continued:
"For every euro spent on a community neurorehabilitation team, the health service saves 11 euro. Having these teams in place is vital in reducing the length of stay and delayed discharges and therefore freeing up beds in acute hospitals. The neurorehabilitation team also prevents unnecessary admissions to hospitals and improves the overall well-being and quality of life of patients with a range of neurological conditions. We have estimated that having the teams in place could save up to 42,000 bed days annually.
“We are calling on elected representatives and the HSE to commit to delivering the services for the people they represent in their constituency. Funding was approved for the neurorehabilitation team in CHO 6 in 2020 however there is still no team in place. Having a team in place in CHO Area 6 could have a positive impact on the lives of those living with neurological conditions in Wicklow, Dún Laoghaire and South Dublin.”
At the campaign launch, Bernadette Nolan, whose husband has an acquired brain injury, said:
“Since he came home from hospital in 2018, my husband has had no access to a neurorehabilitation team in the community. We have been told time and time again that funding exists however the team never materialises. We have been left to our own devices to organise his rehabilitation.
“The first two years after a brain injury are the most important for rehabilitation in terms of success rates and regaining as much quality of life as possible. We finally have access to an adult speech and language therapist, but my husband needed that support much earlier than now. Neurological patients need timely access to rehabilitation. We shouldn’t have to fight for these services. We need our represented electives and the HSE to take action now.”