Sunday 23 July 2017

Brendan leads tributes as 'hero' dad Frank passes away

Main: Brendan Courtney in a photo from the documentary ‘We Need To Talk About Dad’, which highlighted the family’s struggle to access the ‘Fair Deal’ scheme.
Main: Brendan Courtney in a photo from the documentary ‘We Need To Talk About Dad’, which highlighted the family’s struggle to access the ‘Fair Deal’ scheme.
Jane Last

Jane Last

Broadcaster and fashion designer Brendan Courtney has paid tribute to his father Frank who "helped start a conversation" about end of life care for loved ones.

The 75-year-old father-of-four passed away at Our Lady's Hospice in Harold's Cross yesterday morning.

Frank came to public prominence in January after the broadcast of the documentary 'We Need To Talk About Dad' on RTÉ.

It was narrated by Brendan and featured the family struggling to access the Fair Deal scheme as they cared for Frank, who suffered a stroke and was left paralysed.

"It wasn't a shock but it was a surprise - he had palliative care for the last year," Brendan told the Irish Independent.

"He was very stable - my sister and I were with him on Tuesday and we were having a laugh and he was in good form.

Brendan with his parents Frank and Nuala.
Brendan with his parents Frank and Nuala.

"His carer Ray - a very good friend - went to his room yesterday morning to give him his cup of tea. Dad said he was a bit cold, so Ray got him a blanket and then turned away. When he turned back, he was gone.

"He slipped away quietly."

Brendan said his father's story "started a conversation" in this country about caring for loved ones who are ill or frail, and whether the Fair Deal scheme could be used if family members wished to care for their loved ones in their home.

"That documentary, it marked a beautiful time and we were really proud of it and Dad.

"Of course my Dad was suspicious, wanting to know if he came across strange.

"But I told him 'no Dad - you're a hero'."

The desperate need for a statutory scheme - to replace the HSE-funded home care packages and home help supports - was revealed in the public response to the TV documentary.

It highlighted the lack of financial support for families who do not want a loved one to be a resident in a nursing home under the State-funded Fair Deal scheme.

In March, Minister for Older People Helen McEntee said the first public consultation to gather views on a proposed statutory home care scheme would be launched in May.

While Brendan is not yet keen to say the documentary has made a lasting difference, he does stress that he will keep trying to highlight issues going forward.

Frank was married to Nuala.

His funeral mass will take place tomorrow morning at 10am at St Kilian's Church in Kingswood.

Irish Independent

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