Man with dementia and ‘plenty of money’ left in hospital for months

Court told family has not co-operated with efforts to move him on to Fair Deal scheme

A man with dementia and “plenty of money” has been inappropriately placed in a community hospital for months and his family is not co-operating with efforts to secure him a nursing home place, the High Court has heard.

Katherine Kelleher, solicitor for the HSE, said on Tuesday that she did not have to tell the court about the crisis the State is facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said the man has quite advanced dementia and has been staying in a community hospital that is intended to form part of a Covid-19 treatment outflow plan from a larger hospital in the area.

Ms Kelleher sought orders, on foot of medical evidence, that as a result of his dementia the man lacks capacity to make decisions about his person and finances to have him made a ward of court.


The general solicitor for wards of court, Patricia Hickey, had agreed to be appointed as the committee representing his interests, Ms Kelleher said.

The HSE anticipated it would be seeking “in short order” to have the man moved to a nursing home as it was more appropriate for his care needs.

‘Significant debts’

As of now, she said he is running up “significant debts” in hospital “when he does not need to be there”.

The man has been in the hospital for some six months and there had been no family co-operation with the Fair Deal scheme aimed at moving him to a more appropriate location, Ms Kelleher said. A brief effort to move him to a nursing home lasted only a few hours, she added.

Ms Kelleher said the man has “plenty of money”, a house, land and financial assets and his son has a “very good“” job but is not engaging with the HSE concerning Fair Deal and has “completely disconnected” from the matter. The son may have his own challenges, she said.

Ms Hickey said, if the criteria set by her office for nursing home placements are met in this case, there was no need for the matter to come back to court to formally facilitate that transfer.

Mr Justice Mark Sanfey said he was satisfied the man met the criteria for wardship and appointed Ms Hickey as the committee to represent his interests.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times