Tuesday, March 16, 2004
From the Irish Medical Times
Politics.ie - The Irish Politics Website
Rehabilitation medicine consultant Dr Angela McNamara says many people with severe disabilities are not getting proper care.
Dr McNamara, who works in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, is President of the European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine of the UEMS and has worked in the United States at the Mayo Clinic.
"We are supposed to follow up the spinal injuries clinic for life but we are not able with the current manpower," she says.
Dr McNamara says patients who need inpatient management are not getting appropriate care.
Patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and musculoskeletal disorders end up going "here, there and everywhere" getting inappropriate care, she says.
Dr McNamara says stroke patients aged under-65 face a "soul destroying" wait of several months while other patients do not get referred to the NRH.
A patient discharged from acute hospital to his home was forced to sleep on a sofa for months before being was admitted to Dun Laoghaire. The same patient, according to Dr McNamara, should have been cared for in a hospital rehabilitation unit.
More than 40 patients with spinal problems are awaiting admission and the list is growing. Paralysed patients in their 20s and 30s, are in geriatric centres and nursing homes waiting for beds. Patients on waiting lists can suffer further medical problems with some left with permanent damage, she says.
When a bedsore occurs in a paralysed patient due to lack of turning
it can add up to a year to the hospital treatment.
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