Tuesday 20 March 2018

Nurses were unable to access Evelyn Joel’s home - court

Health workers tried to visit victim 14 times before she died, trial told

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A PUBLIC health nurse has told the Evelyn Joel trial that health staff were unable to gain access to where she was living on 14 occasions in the months before her death.

The multiple sclerosis sufferer died in hospital on January 7, 2006, less than a week after ambulance crew removed her from the house where she lived with her daughter, Eleanor, and Eleanor's partner.

Eleanor Joel (37), and her partner Jonathan Costen (39), of Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, both deny the unlawful killing of Mrs Joel by neglect.

Wexford Circuit Court yesterday heard evidence from public health nurse Monica Creane. She said Evelyn Joel (59) had felt she was intruding on her daughter, Eleanor, and on Mr Costen and their children.

Ms Creane said Evelyn Joel was "caring for herself" in Eleanor Joel's house and was planning on living alone. She was waiting for a house from the council and indicated she would accept home help once she was living on her own.

The last time that Ms Creane saw Evelyn Joel was on September 6, 2005, when he noted that she was "confining herself a lot" to her bedroom.

She also asked Eleanor Joel about the soiled incontinence pads that were kept in the bedroom.

Eleanor Joel said the rubbish was not due for collection for another week and she couldn't put the bag outside because the dogs would tear it apart.

Ms Creane said she had discussed respite care with Evelyn Joel but the woman had said "no way". She agreed that Evelyn Joel's living circumstances were "far from ideal".

Ms Creane asked a health inspector to call to the house because she had concerns that it was untidy. However, she said Evelyn Joel's case was not seen as a "nursing case".

"I would depend on the family, the GP and the hospital to tell me if her condition had changed."

She said there was "no indication" from Eleanor Joel that her mother needed help.

"On 14 occasions we had no access to the house when we were expected. If we were are not asked for help, we don't know it is needed," she said.

A nursing form that was completed by Ms Creane on Evelyn Joel had shown she was "doubly incontinent".

Ms Creane disputed that this was the case, stating that in the time she knew her Evelyn Joel, she was only incontinent for urine and moved "very freely".

She "wasn't an invalid" although she used a wheelchair, she said.

The trial resumes on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News