Friday 20 September 2019

Grandmother remains stuck in hospital two months after all-clear over lack of home help

Waiting: Kitty Galligan with her granddaughter Shauna Tully. Photo: Seamus Farrelly
Waiting: Kitty Galligan with her granddaughter Shauna Tully. Photo: Seamus Farrelly

Louise Walsh

The son of an elderly stroke victim has said she is stuck in hospital because there is no home care help available.

Co Meath grandmother Kitty Galligan (81) is still in the step-down unit at Dundalk Hospital almost two months after she was given the all-clear to come home, according to her son Patrick.

He said they can't access an approved seven-and-a-half-hours' home care a week because of a HSE embargo on hiring staff.

Patrick said he was determined to bring her home to Kilbeg, Carlanstown, as soon as possible and urged the HSE to allow him and his wife to find the help of another approved service provider.

Ms Galligan has been recovering from a stroke she suffered in her kitchen on the morning of May 3.

"We were lucky that my wife Mary was still at home that morning and recognised she had a stroke from the TV campaign," said Patrick.

"We rang an ambulance straight away and mam was transferred from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda to Beaumont Hospital for surgery on a bleed on the brain and a blockage in her neck.

"She then returned to Drogheda and on to Dundalk on June 7 to the stroke rehabilitation unit.

"She was completely paralysed down her left-hand side but now she has a lot of movement back, but her hearing and eyesight are affected.

"She's now in the step-down ward but can't come home because we're told there's an embargo on employing more home care workers and there is none currently available to look after mam.

"We can't understand it as recently published figures show that it costs almost €6,000 a week to keep a person in hospital while it averages at €165 a week for home care.

"We believe that her recovery will be faster at home but we've been told that there are no home care assistants to utilise the approved hours," said Patrick.

"My wife and I live at home with mam but we both work in Dublin so are away for most of the day. She's still a high fall risk... so I'm terrified she will fall while we are at work. At least if I knew there was someone calling three times a day, I wouldn't panic as much."

The HSE said it cannot comment on individual cases, adding that "a member of a client's clinical team, however, would be happy to discuss any aspect of a client's care directly with them or their family members".

It said the quantity of home support services "is limited to available budget" and it is currently "profiling our priority home support clients".

Irish Independent

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