Sunday 22 October 2017

Families in limbo after disability care cuts

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

MORE than 220 young people with a disability are in limbo as cutbacks have left them with nowhere to go this autumn.

Cuts to organisations providing services to young people with an intellectual disability, who left school last month, mean that 226 of them who need a training or daycare place from September have been forced to go on a waiting list.

Figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal 660 school leavers with disabilities need some form of specialist placement this autumn and another 390 should have a training place.

However, the Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed that to date just 414 school leavers and 320 people who had been in training have been given a placement.

There are 153 school leavers and 73 people who had been in training who will now be forced to languish on a waiting list. The uncertainty has left many families devastated.

NUI Galway lecturer Frank Conaty, whose son Matthew (18) is in danger of being without a service, told the Irish Independent yesterday he may have to give up work to care for him.

Frank and his wife Pat, from Kilcolgan, said Matthew left the Brothers of Charity school last month but needs a day care place this autumn where he will receive therapy and care to cater for his severe physical and intellectual disability.

"Matthew is tube fed and is doubly incontinent," Mr Conaty said. "He has the mind of a toddler but can wander off and must be watched 24/7.

Essential

"It is essential that he receives proper care, including occupational therapy and physiotherapy. But we have heard no word about a day-care place for him since last March.

"My wife could not care for Matthew on her own and I may have to give up work to help her," said Mr Conaty.

Parents were due to receive notifications of placements in the post from last Monday -- but many have now been thrown into panic.

The crisis comes against a background of cuts of 3.7pc in budgets to organisations providing services for people with a disability.

Irish Independent

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