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Mother: Cuts to my teen's day care will make me a prisoner in my own home

Young adults approaching the age of 18 will have no place in Stewarts Hospital in Dublin come September.

FAMILY CARERS OF young adults with profound disabilities in Dublin have said they are “shocked and outraged” after being told by the HSE their day care services will now be cut to just ten days a month with no transport provided.

The eleven teenagers had been receiving physiotherapy, occupational therapy, education, and one to one training at the Stewarts Hospital’s day centre five days a week.

The Carers Association has said that it was contacted by a number of parents who are set to be hugely affected by the cut. The young adults are all due to turn 18 soon and parents said that they were promised the service at Stewarts Hospital would remain from “cradle to grave”.

However parents were recently told that due to the lack of funding and staffing in the hospital, there will be no place for their highly dependent teens in day care from September due to their age. After a meeting with parents last Friday, the HSE offered ten days a month of community-based care without transport, as a substitute for the loss of the current service.

One parent, Moira Skelly, who cares for her younger daughter Ciara said that she cannot sleep at night worrying about her child’s future without the vital educational supports and therapies provided by the centre.

Why are our children being treated like they don’t matter? The government and HSE has had 18 years to plan for the placement of these children into adult services, these children don’t magically become fully functioning independent members of society just because they reach age 18. My daughter is peg fed, autistic, has intractable epilepsy and wheelchair bound with the mental capacity of a two-year-old. How am I supposed to cope with her living at home with me all day every day? I will become a prisoner in my own home as will my daughter.

Catherine Cox of The Carer’s Association said that the deal offered by the HSE “completely unacceptable and unworkable as there is no transport being offered” which makes it impossible for many of the families to avail of it.

“Also the care on offer is community-based as opposed to day care centre-based offering activities such as swimming and other social outings but offering no real structure, routine or essential therapies to these young adults,” she added.

In a statement, the HSE said that it is working with the hospital to address the 2013 school leavers and those exiting rehabilitation training across the country, providing an extra €4 million this year to meet their needs.

It said that it has “been working with Stewarts Hospital, Palmerstown to ensure that they maximise the use of the available resource in terms of the level of support provided to the 2013 School Leavers”.

“The HSE remains committed to working with all voluntary disability service providers to ensure that all of the resources available for specialist disability services are used in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” the statement added.

Read: Mixed reaction to National Disability Strategy implementation plan>
Read: HSE to close special needs pre-schools despite parents’ wishes>

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