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03 Jul 2022

Elderly patient with dementia goes missing from University Hospital Limerick for over two hours

University Hospital Limerick puts restrictions in place over Covid and flu outbreaks

AN ELDERLY woman with dementia went missing from University Hospital Limerick today and was found nearly three hours later almost a kilometre away.

The 79 year-old woman was admitted to UHL on Sunday and her daughter stayed with her in the hospital. 

After staying with her until 1am, another patient said she would keep an eye on the elderly woman, who was asleep, so her daughter could go home. 

At 9.20 this morning, the woman's daughter was contacted to say her mother had been missing from the hospital for two hours. 

As her daughters made their way to the hospital, the woman was found outside Raheen church by gardai about 20 minutes later.

The woman's daughter said that the night before she had not been allowed in to see her mother by security at the hospital, yet her mother had managed to get past security and get out. 

"The staff there said they are overcrowded but we are not letting this go. We don't want this to happen to another family," she told Limerick Live. 

"They discharged her this afternoon, we preferred to have her at home anyway. She is ok but she is still a bit confused. I know they are busy but it is just unbelievable that she was able to get out, it is a busy road as well," she added.

Maurice Quinlivan TD said he will be addressing the issue with management at the hospital.

"People with dementia as we all unfortunately know are amongst the most vulnerable in society. The family obviously are extremely concerned as to how this could happen to someone who has dementia."

A spokesperson for University of Limerick Hospital Group said that a review in underway into the incident. 

"Our staff have apologised to the family of the patient concerned. As this matter is now under review and in the interests of patient confidentiality, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

The incident happened the same day that the hospital announced the deferral of scheduled care due to an increase in numbers of patients being admitted to the Emergency Department. 

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