HSE home­care pack­age plea

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Analysis -

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

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