Professor Joe Harbison’s opinion piece in today’s Irish Times (14.06.2016) concludes that “those least able to articulate their case will end up with the worst care”. This is not just true for people with stroke but for all the people in Ireland living with an acquired or progressive neurological condition.
Neuro-rehabilitation services are essential for people living with a neurological condition. They promote recovery, prevent and delay disability, they enable people to go to work, contribute meaningfully to family and community life and most significantly avoid becoming dependent on already severely restricted health services. Without such services people remain unnecessarily in hospital, exist in nursing homes that are not suited to their needs or continue to live with families who are not able to cope.
However, neuro-rehabilitation services are still under-developed and under-resourced. Our health service needs to wake up to the reality that we must build decent, well-resourced neuro-rehabilitation services for people from hospital to home. Rehabilitation is not being resourced in our hospitals and communities. It is not seen as a vital and essential component of our health services. Until we recognise its centrality, people with neurological conditions will remain excluded, isolated and their human rights abused. This voiceless group will, like Professor Harbison says, continue to be the “losers” in this game of competing political priorities and media attention.
Magdalen Rogers, Development Manager, Neurological Alliance of Ireland
Barbara Flynn, CEO, Ataxia Ireland
Tom Scott, CEO, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland
Paula Gilmore, CEO, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland
Barbara O Connell, CEO, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
Tina Leonard, Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs, Alzheimer Society of Ireland
Richard Stables, Information and Support Manager, Headway Ireland
John Lindsay, Chairperson, Chronic Pain Ireland
Cliona Loughnane, Policy and Research Manager, Irish Heart Foundation
Kathleen O Meara, Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Fundraising, The Rehab Group
Caroline Dooley Martyn, Director, PSPA Ireland