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  • Northside East

Local man’s plea to live independently  

Tuesday, 12th September, 2017 8:00am
Local man’s  plea to live independently  

PLEA: Michael McGealy wants to live independently. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Local man’s  plea to live independently  

PLEA: Michael McGealy wants to live independently. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

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A North Dublin man who has cerebral palsy is pleading with the HSE to move him from a private nursing home to accommodation where he can live independently. 

Michael McGealy, from Lusk, was 36 when he was placed in Tara Winthrop Nursing Home in Swords. 

According to Michael, now aged 45, this move was only supposed to be for a few months but he is still living there nine years later “against his will”. 

“I feel I have lost nine years of my life,” said Michael, who is on the Fingal County Council housing list. 

“I’m desperate to move from the nursing home into suitable accommodation where I can live as independently as possible.” 

Dermot Murphy, Michael’s keyworker at the CRC Coolock Local Centre, argued that the nursing home is extremely unsuitable for Michael.

“Not only does he live with people a lot older than him, he also lives with people with dementia who scare him,” Mr Murphy told Northside People. 

“Michael is an educated intelligent man who is capable of living independently with the help of personal assistants like many other wheelchair users.  Michael has not been given the choice of where he would like to live and feels he is being institutionalised. 

“Michael’s preferred accommodation is a shared bungalow with three or four other wheelchair users but at this stage he would live in a suitable apartment on his own if the chance arose. 

“I personally know a service user who attends our centre and lives in a shared bungalow with other wheelchair users in Rush. He is delighted and very content with his living accommodation.”

Mr Murphy added: “We work under the HSE’s New Directions policy which one main focus is integrating people with a disability into the community and allowing them to live independently. 

“However, Michael and 1,200 people with a disability are in nursing homes and locked away from the public eye.”

The HSE confirmed that as of June 30, 2017, a total of 1,222 persons under the age of 65 years are accessing Nursing Home Care via the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) across both public and private nursing and social care settings. 

“While a substantial level of this vulnerable group do have a disability, it is critically important to note that this intervention is also an appropriate intervention where the persons concerned have clinically assessed complex medical and social care needs requiring this form of support,” said a HSE spokesperson.  

“For example, where the person has intensive nursing and medical care requirements which cannot be supported in the person’s home or by their loved ones/next of kin. 

“Additionally some individuals could have early onset dementia or Parkinsons, which is an older person’s condition, but may have affected a person in their early years. 

“Equally, the HSE is very conscious of the fact that there are people with a disability who are in nursing home care provision who wish to, and should be supported to move back to their home of choice. 

“HSE through its network of Community Healthcare Organisations is working to facilitate this within the resources available to it.”

The HSE said it could not comment on any individual client or service user.  

“We can advise that as part of an individual’s care plan HSE Disability Services would explore, in consultation with the person, all options that may be available to assist them to live as independently as possible,” the 

Michael McGealy has been living in a nursing home for nine years.  PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

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