Friday, November 24, 2017

Alvernia House

A home at last

Alvernia House, in Portlaoise, closed its doors on 4 September 2012, with 27 people with intellectual disability moving into alternate living arrangements in community settings in the Midland area. The following is an account of one of these people, Philip Brady, and his progress so far in his new home...

A new start

Little was known about Jim when the initial project team first met him in May 2012. There was very brief information as to his level of ability—but nothing about him as a person. The person introduced to the support team on that first meeting at Alvernia House was a physically imposing man. The Muiríosa team were feeling apprehensive, as indeed was Jim...

DOORS CLOSE FOR THE LAST TIME

The development of services for people with intellectual disability in the latter half of the 20th century saw the beginning of a process of specialisation that led to the emergence of ‘special’ places for so called ‘special’ people. The Commission of Inquiry on Mental Handicap (1965) described the existing status of services for people with intellectual disability in Ireland; it called for greater equity and fairness for people with intellectual disability and inspired the development of local facilities across the country...

Early reflections on a ‘de-institutionalisation’ initiative

The Alvernia unit, housed in a wing of the St Fintan’s mental health facility at Portlaoise, offered a 24/7 support to a group of individuals with intellectual disability since the early-to-mid 1980s. At that time a decision was made to ‘de-designate’ the unit (i.e. to remove it from the regulatory framework of mental health legislation) and to manage it as if it were a community-based facility...