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HSE cuts "forced mother to put disabled daughter into care"

A mother who provides full-time care for her disabled daughter is forced to put her into a nursing home after support service cuts.

John, Johanne and Siobhan Powell
John, Johanne and Siobhan Powell
Image: The Carers Association

A MOTHER HAS been forced to put her disabled daughter into a nursing home because she can no longer afford to bring her to day care centres.

The HSE offered to take Johanne Powell’s daughter Siobhan into residential care rather than provide access to support services and therapies, according to the Wexford woman.

Johanne provides full-time home care for her physically and intellectually disabled daughter in their home in Fethard-on-Sea.

Siobhan suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder which has caused chronic renal failure, scoliosis and epilepsy. The 29-year-old woman  is also a wheelchair user.

Her mother recently lost her mobility allowance and  also had a 20 per cent cut in her respite care grant.

However, the final straw came when a transport service to Siobhan’s day care centre in Wexford Town was cut from five to three days per week.

“We are just barely keeping our heads above water up to now and cutting more services makes it absolutely impossible for us,” she told TheJournal.ie.

Johanne says she cannot afford to drive Siobhan to the day care centre where her daughter receives vital supports including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and social interaction with her peers.

“She absolutely loves it – she adores going there,” Johanne said.

“It’s her main social outlet. There’s younger people there and they go shopping and drinking coffee.  I can’t have her at home starring at me all day. She needs a social outlet with people of her own age and ability.”

Rather than reinstate the service, the HSE offered to take Siobhan into full-time care.

Carers Association spokeswoman, Catherine Cox, said the HSE is cutting a service to save €16,000 per year when sending Siobhan into a residential nursing home will cost between €55,000 and €78,000 annually.

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“Surely the HSE can see that the logical thing to do is to allocate a portion of the promised funding for residential care towards providing an adequate package to support Johanne’s full time care of Siobhan in the home, including reinstating transport to day care services,” Cox said.

“This throws open the debate and seriously questions the effectiveness of cross departmental budgeting both within the HSE and the public service generally.”

The HSE said there was no question of someone being “inappropriately placed in a nursing home due to difficulties with transport”.

“The HSE continues to liaise with the Powell family and a number of alternative options also been put forward for the family’s consideration in the hope of resolving this situation,” a spokesman said.

Read: Pictures: 300 carers picket Leinster House over Budget >

Read: Carers to protest at Dáil today over cuts to grant >

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