Saturday 23 February 2019

'All you want is a bit of help' - family of dad paralysed after charity cycle fall reveal €250k cost to adapt home

Challenges: Louise and Declan Naughton from Co Kildare with sons Cillian (12) and Callum (7)
Challenges: Louise and Declan Naughton from Co Kildare with sons Cillian (12) and Callum (7)
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

A Kildare mother whose husband was paralysed in a cycling accident seven months ago has revealed it will cost them €250,000 to specially adapt their home.

Louise Naughton (44) revealed they are not entitled to a home adaptation grant, based on their previous earnings, despite their dramatically changed circumstances.

Her husband Declan (45), an area bank manager, was participating in a charity cycle when the serious accident occurred on June 15 last year.

"At about 10.30 that morning, I got a call that he had come off the bike," said Ms Naughton.

It emerged that Declan, who is father to Cillian (12) and Callum (7), had fractured and dislocated his C6 and C7 vertebrae, which has left him paralysed from his chest down.

Declan has been undergoing intense physiotherapy and occupational therapy as an in-patient at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dún Laoghaire, following three months at the Mater Hospital.

Ms Naughton stressed that the care he has received from the health service has been "phenomenal", while their local community in Celbridge and their families have also given them great support.

But she told how she has faced a "soul-destroying" time when it comes to dealing with bureaucracy in relation to other issues.

"That is the same for a lot of people, you are just a number. That is how I feel. I know the services are coping with a huge volume of people, but all you want is a bit of help," she said.

They were turned down for a home adaptation grant by Kildare County Council, despite the need to carry out substantial works at their home, including making it wheelchair accessible. "To qualify for the housing adaptation grant, you cannot have earned more than €60,000 in the previous tax year," she explained.

They are also still waiting for the final green light from the council to enable the works to begin on their home under the planning permission process, and she said they had to pay €5,000 by way of a local amenity contribution.

The couple also faced an anxious wait to find out when their HSE home care package would be approved, which will enable carers come into the home and assist when Declan is discharged - thankfully that was approved at the beginning of January.

Kildare County Council said it does not comment on individual applications.

The HSE also said it cannot comment on individual cases. The body added it was "fully committed to supporting people with a disability to return home, or to remain at home, where this is their or their family's wish."

See www.gofundme.com/doingthisfordeclan

Irish Independent

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