Drumclay care home to reopen under health trust
A care home in Enniskillen, which was closed by its owners last year, is to be reopened by the Western Health Trust.
The trust has taken a 12-month lease of Drumclay nursing home to address the shortage of dementia care beds in County Fermanagh.
It hopes to open the facility in May on an incremental basis.
The nursing home, previously owned by Ebbay Group, was closed last September. due to staffing issues.
They said the decision was taken due to an inability to recruit enough skilled nursing staff to deliver safe care.
Drumclay care home was a 52-bed unit, providing 30 general nursing beds and 22 dementia nursing beds.
Eamon McGullion, the last of the 34 residents to leave the home, was moved to hospital in December as there were no beds available for dementia patients in Fermanagh.
At the time his son Neil told BBC News NI: "My father is not sick, he just needs care".
"The trust has been relying on the private care nursing home community to take on these people," he said.
"It has now come to the point where my father has nowhere to live".
Mr McGullion spent 60 days at the South West Acute Hospital before a bed became available at another care home.
'We have listened'
The Western Trust says the bed capacity in the independent nursing home sector in County Fermanagh has decreased significantly in the last 18 months with the loss of 116 beds.
A further 74 beds were taken up by residents who were transferred when Ashbrooke care centre and Drumclay Care Home closed.
The Western Trust has undertaken a public engagement programme called Pathfinder, which it says has highlighted the need for dementia care home provision to be given immediate attention.
Kieran Downey, deputy chief executive of the Western Trust, said it had listened to the public and taken action by leasing Drumclay nursing home.
"This is a proactive first step to begin to grow an incremental dementia strategy for Fermanagh and West Tyrone," he said.
"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."
The trust also plans to use the home as a transition for elderly people awaiting discharge from hospital, who may require additional care before they return home.
It will also use the next 12 months to work with the independent and private sector providers to develop a dementia and residential strategy for the future.