UPDATE: Dad’s coming home!
Thanks for all the support, shared stories and advice. I’m happy to say #Dad’s HSE care package has been approved and he’s heading home in time for his 94th birthday. While I’m absolutely over the moon, I haven’t forgotten the hundreds of people who are still waiting. I don’t think it’s fair to leave them behind, so let’s keep access to homecare an issue in the headlines, until these packages are available to all who need them without unreasonable delays. #BringTHEMhome
**** here’s how our story began****
Heading into week 7 in hospital for #Dad who’s 94 on June 6th. His wounds have healed after his fall and he wants to go home.
We want him home. His GP wants him home. The hospital wants him home. His social worker wants him home. The HSE wants him home – and according to the Minister for Health, he wants him home too.
However he needs the HSE support package which the Minister and the HSE website says is available, free, to elderly people in this country to facilitate them to live independently at home.
I’d take him home from hospital in the morning – even without it – but his health team says he needs 24/7 care after an ‘acquired brain injury’ accelerated dementia. I can pay privately for some extra care, along with happily caring for him myself. But they don’t think that’s quite enough to ensure his safety at home so here I am waiting for a care package with no idea when it will materialize.
I have felt heavy pressure from the medical profession in the past month to sign dad into a nursing home. That’s not what he wants. It’s not what I want. It’s not going to happen.
It’s been made clear to me that signing Dad out of hospital without a HSE home care package would make me responsible if he hurt himself – and more importantly, would drop him to the bottom of the HSE waiting list.
I have unofficially been told there are 500 people ahead of us waiting for a home care package and there’s no budget available to provide for them.
But Dad is 94. We don’t have time for 499 people to die or be sent to a nursing home. We want him home now.
I don’t want Dad sitting healthy but confused in a ward full of sick people looking forward only to mealtimes and sneak visits to the veranda outside his hospital window by #Google his dog. I am watching his will to live drain from his mind in front of my eyes.
The staff at the Woodlands Medical Unit at Connolly Hospital are wonderful and so caring. Dad has really been well treated there and they were magnificent as he healed. They actually restored my faith in the system, which I feared was truly broken after our experience earlier in A&E. Our Social Worker has also held my hand and been a friend and supporter as she helped me apply for these HSE supports. I feel too for these professionals on the frontline who got into the business to help others. They are trying to find answers for people like me every day, with the public face of the HSE saying there’s a great system in place, and the reality on the ground being very different. The hospital staff and the team of social workers working in the community have done great, they’ve done their job, but now it’s time for dad to come home.
Dad is a man who worked and paid taxes for nearly 80 years. He is a man who helped form our country, who helped pay for the education of the ministers sitting in Government today. He is the future facing mums and dad’s all over Ireland.
I’m told the maximum HSE support package is 21hrs a week. The Carer agency I already employ privately charges €25 per hour. Unofficially I’ve been told dad’s hospital bed is costing €6,000 per week. Minister, I’m open and happy to be corrected on that. Also, I’d be happy if you did the maths above – but am I wrong in saying that we’d save you over €5,000 per week by bringing Dad home?
So why isn’t this package available to Dad? The HSE website says it is. Minister, you say it is. But the 7 week wait says it isn’t. Who is telling lies?
Dad is 94 on June 6th.
Minister, please #BringHimHome.