Belfast Telegraph

Drumclay care home reopens four months after it shut down to provide more dementia beds

First step: Kieran Downey
First step: Kieran Downey
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A former nursing home in Co Fermanagh is to reopen almost four months after it closed its doors in a bid to address the shortage of dementia care beds in the area.

Drumclay Care Home in Enniskillen shut on December 12 last, three months after management admitted being unable to recruit enough trained staff to work there.

The facility was previously run by Ebbay Ltd and part of the Saville group of nursing homes, which includes the County Care home, also in Enniskillen, as well as other care homes in counties Armagh and Tyrone.

It offered care to 34 elderly people and individuals with learning difficulties.

In a statement last September, Drumclay Care Home said it was with a "heavy heart" it was announcing the closure of the home just before Christmas.

Drumclay was the second nursing home in Enniskillen to shut within a year after Ashbrooke Care Home was closed in August 2017 over the "serious risk to life" of its 40 residents.

In January Runwood Homes reopened Ashbrooke under a new name, Meadow View residential care home, to provide expert healthcare for older people, including those with dementia.

Blind dementia sufferer Eamon McGullion was "left homeless" after Drumclay closed.

The 82-year-old was the last resident to leave the home.

He ended up in the nearby South West Acute Hospital for almost two months because the Western Trust could not provide a suitable home in the area.

As there were "no dementia nursing places available" in any care home within Co Fermanagh, Mr McGullion's family had to choose between admitting him to hospital or sending him to a home almost 60 miles away in Derry.

In January Drumclay was listed for sale by Belfast-based estate agents Osborne King for an undisclosed sum with the option of a short-term lease for a period of 12 months.

That lease has now been taken on by the Western Trust in what they say is "a first incremental step in a longer term ambition to develop with key stakeholders a sustainable model of care home provision for the Fermanagh and West Tyrone area".

The move is designed to free up beds at Enniskillen hospital and ensure that residential dementia patients don't have to travel outside the county.

Kieran Downey, deputy chief executive of the Western Trust, said the move followed a three-month Pathfinder public engagement process across Fermanagh and West Tyrone with over 2,000 people.

He said: "As a starting point, dementia care and in particular the lack of dementia care beds in Fermanagh at present has been very prominent in all our discussions with the public.

"The Western Trust has listened to this and, through Pathfinder, has now taken on the lease of Drumclay Nursing Home.

"This is a proactive first step to begin to grow an incremental dementia strategy for Fermanagh and West Tyrone.

"We know we need to increase the provision of local nursing home beds for people living with dementia and have now commenced a recruitment plan with a view to opening beds in Drumclay later this spring."

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