Tuesday 22 August 2017

Couple tell of their heartache at being separated

Michael (89) and Kathleen (86) Devereaux, who have been married for 63 years, are heartbroken after one was accepted for a Fair Deal scheme but the other was rejected
Michael (89) and Kathleen (86) Devereaux, who have been married for 63 years, are heartbroken after one was accepted for a Fair Deal scheme but the other was rejected

Sasha Brady

A couple who have been married for 63 years have described the heartache of being separated because one was rejected for nursing home care.

Michael and Kathleen Devereaux applied as a couple for the Fair Deal scheme. Michael (89) was accepted but Kathleen (86) was rejected.

Michael is now waiting in a two-bed room alone. He's heartbroken without his wife but he can't afford to pay for private full-time residential care.

Their son Tom spoke to RTÉ's 'Liveline' about the suffering the family have gone through since the HSE ruled that their mother did not qualify for the Fair Deal, on the grounds that she was deemed "independent" and capable of looking after herself.

"My father went into the nursing home in April but my mother wasn't consented for the scheme. I had to put in a review and it was turned down, despite a letter from her GP saying she needed long-term care," he explained. "It's horrific. On a daily basis both of them are crying."

Kathleen has been in Wexford General since April 28 when she was admitted for a bacterial infection. She also suffers with arthritis. The hospital wants to discharge her but she is unable to go home.

"They're in their twilight years. At the ages they're at, obviously they're not going to live too long. I never thought they'd end up in a situation like this," he said.

Former accountant Michael also spoke to 'Liveline' and struggled to fight back tears when speaking about his wife.

"I can't sleep. I wake at three or maybe four every morning. I pray and then I cry. It's terrible," he said.

"We've been separated for the first time in our life after 63 long years of marriage. I feel as if my head is going to burst.

"We were loyal citizens all our lives and it's terrible to think that the same country has left us in this situation. I'm devastated."

Kathleen spoke to 'Liveline' to say she doesn't understand why the family's appeal was rejected.

"I want to go to the nursing home and be with my husband," she said.

Tom explained that the only option now is to take the matter to the High Court but he doesn't want to put his parents through the trauma of a case.

The HSE has been contacted for a response.

Irish Independent

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