Tuesday 12 November 2019

Denial of home-care package leaves young mother stranded in hospital for six months, Dáil told

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Tom Burke
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Tom Burke
John Downing

John Downing

A young mother of two small children is still in hospital, six months after her release was sanctioned, due to a lack of home-care services, the Dáil has heard.

Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, raised the case of 41-year-old, Olivia Harte, from Co Leitrim who suffers from extreme Parkinson’s Disease.

Ms McDonald said her two young children, aged six and seven, come and play by her bedside every day. And she has celebrated birthdays and anniversaries in the Intensive Care Unit of Cavan Hospital for the past seven months.

The Sinn Féin TD said the woman had been cleared for discharge from hospital six months ago. But she had been repeatedly refused the necessary home package by the HSE to allow this happen.

She said the woman was on a liquid diet and would require a ventilator to help her breathing. “Olivia Harte wants to go home to her family,” Ms McDonald said.

Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said he was reluctant to comment on individual cases. He said he would raise the matter with the Health Minister but could not direct the HSE to take any particular action.

Mr Varadkar said he was aware that the particular home-care the woman required was especially difficult and expensive. He said progress was being made on reducing numbers seeking home care reduced from 830 in 2014 to 537 people at present.

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