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Delays in accommodating brain injury admissions to the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dún Laoghaire are “unacceptable when compared to international norms”, its Clinical Director has warned.
Citing a lack of resources to meet referral requests, Prof Mark Delargy stated that “our colleagues in Belfast can admit brain injury patients much sooner than the NRH”.
Commenting in the hospital’s 2018 annual report, Prof Delargy said the brain injury waiting list of more than 230 patients for 56 rehabilitation beds had “resulted in long delays in admission”.
An NRH spokesperson informed the Medical Independent that Prof Delargy’s remarks still stood, as the situation had not changed.
“The number of high-intensity rehabilitation beds, both in the NRH and regionally, remains inadequate to serve the national demand,” stated Prof Delargy in the report. “The 10 per cent increase in beds in our new hospital (to open in 2020) will help improve access to our services, so long as the NRH receives the funding needed to fully staff the new beds for high-intensity rehabilitation.”
The national shortfall in high-intensity rehabilitation beds needs to be addressed “at a national level”.
“Anecdotally, many patients admitted from the waiting list feel that they have not experienced a full rehabilitation programme until they have accessed a phase of intensive rehabilitation at NRH,” he outlined.
The hospital provides the national, and only, post-acute complex specialist inpatient rehabilitation service for people with acquired brain injury and stroke in the Republic of Ireland.
Last year, 215 patients received inpatient rehabilitation services under the brain injury programme.