HSE homecare package plea
Alan O’Keeffe A MAN with intellectual disabilities is being kept in a bed in a general hospital because the HSE claims it cannot fund a homecare package.
Jenson Holden (38) was admitted to Wexford General Hospital last July with lung and urinary tract infections.
He contracted several new infections while in the hospital. Although he was technically discharged last Monday, Jenson is still in hospital and is deteriorating mentally as the days go by, according to his sister.
Jenson will need constant care when he leaves hospital because of his intellectual disability. He also suffers from autism, diabetes, anaemia and seizures.
His sole carer was his mother Bridie, who died aged 74 at the family home in Wexford town last June. A month later, Jenson became ill and was admitted to hospital.
Jenson’s sister Peggy Cullen (35), a mother of two, is willing to take full-time responsibility for his care at her home in Castlebridge outside the town. But she feels she should not have to give up her part-time job and asked for a 32-hour homecare package for the hours when she is at work.
“When I visit him in the hospital, I sometimes find him sitting on the floor staring at his bed,” said Peggy.
“He doesn’t understand why he has to be in hospital. I see him getting worse mentally and doctors told me he is at risk from further infection the longer he stays in the hospital,” she said.
“I feel terrible for him. I want to be able to take him out, but we need a home-care package for him to come to live with us instead of having to go into residential care.
“I’m told a 32-hour package is a very reasonable request to make and he is listed as a priority for care by the HSE,” she said.
“I have been told by the disability care manager in Wexford that Jenson is a priority but there is no money left in their budget to fund 32 hours’ home care for him.
“But he currently receives 168 hours’ care in the general hospital. It does not make sense that they are not freeing up a general hospital bed because of the cost of a small homecare package,” she said.
Peggy works on a helpline for Family Carers Ireland and says she now finds herself with a carer problem of her own.
Jenson was a sociable person until he was diagnosed with autism 10 years ago after he retreated into himself.
His mother’s death was a terrible blow. He is “regressing via behavioural changes” the longer he remains in the hospital, Peggy added.
A Health Service Executive spokesperson said: “The Health Service Executive South East Community Healthcare, on the grounds of confidentiality, does not discuss individual cases. We will, however, do so with a family of a patient concerned.”
CARE CONCERN: Peggy Cullen and Jenson Holden