Chapel of rest being used as hospital day room

Lifford Community Hospital

THE Chapel of Rest in one of Donegal’s oldest Community Hospitals is now being used as a day room for residents of the unit, it has emerged.
Patients in Lifford Community Hospital were moved to the Chapel as it was the only space available for the service which would have nursing available on a daily basis.
The move is being seen by many as the latest step in the Health Service Executive’s ongoing plan to close the local community hospital.
Lifford Community Hospital provides long stay residential, respite, rehabilitation and palliative care services in the Lifford area. It has operated as health facility since the 1775.
Chairman to the Friends of Lifford Hospital Group John Quinn said the local community was ‘not happy’ with a number of ongoing issues at the 30 bed community facility.
“The HSE have contradicted themselves on the Chapel of Rest issue but, not for the first time, they appear to be making up the rules to suit themselves,” Mr Quinn said.
“Originally they (HSE) said that space was not appropriate to use as a day room as patients could not see out the windows. It’s an old building and the windows are too high so they moved the day room to another brighter, more spacious part of the building.
“That room then was converted into a Chapel of Rest. It was funded by the Friends of Lifford Hospital and other local groups but now they’ve things around again to say that it’s suitable for use as a day room,” Mr Quinn said.
“At the moment there’s no Chapel in Lifford Community Hospital. We believe that the space was there to give relatives and patients solace. Somewhere they could go to be alone, somewhere for quiet reflection. Just because it was called a chapel doesn’t mean that it’s confined to any particular religion,” Mr Quinn said.
The issue was raised by local Councillor Gerry Crawford at last week’s Regional Health Forum meeting in Galway. He asked why the Chapel of Rest was being used as a day room.
In reply, John Hayes, Chief Officer, HSE, explained that the Day Hospital was relocated from Habintec Housing Development to Lifford Hospital due to a difficulty filling the CNM post
“The Day Hospital was relocated to the sitting rooms at the front of the hospital however following the latest HIQA inspection it was deemed to be in breach of standards in that the sitting room was not available to residents of the unit.
“The clients were moved to the Chapel as it was the only available space for the service which would have nursing available on a daily basis. This was a temporary solution. The chapel remains available for removals as and when required,” Mr Hayes said.
Cllr Crawford said it was ironic that patients were now moved to an area which had been deemed unsuitable in the past.
“Somebody, somewhere is playing musical chairs with the patients and that’s simply not right nor fair,” Cllr Crawford said.

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