Thursday 22 August 2019

Mum appeals to HSE to help son

Lusk woman seeks support to allow her child to attend school

Sean, Ruairí and Shona Kilduf, pictured at home in Lusk. (pic by Fintan Clarke)
Sean, Ruairí and Shona Kilduf, pictured at home in Lusk. (pic by Fintan Clarke)

Ken Phelan

A Lusk mum is battling to ensure her five-old-old son with special needs begins school this September, due to a failure to secure a homecare provider to meet her family's change of circumstances.

Shona Kilduff has enrolled son Ruairí into Gaelscoil Ros Eo in Rush for his first year at school, but Ruairí's care provider has said they are unable to accommodate a change to homecare hours.

Ruairí suffers from a condition known as Vacterl Syndrome, which means he has no control of his bowels or bladder, and requires daily home care assistance.

At present, Ruairí has homecare at 8am each morning, but as he is due to begin school next September, he will need care from 6am in order to attend school on time.

Unsure where to turn to, Shona contacted local TD Deputy Louise O'Reilly, who has advocated for Ruairí in the Dáil on several occasions, and acted as an intermediary with the HSE.

Shona explains: 'The door was just closed to me, which is why I ended up going to see Louise in an effort to see if I could get some attention or get someone to put any light on the subject for me, or get me some help.

'It's really hard, you feel like you're putting your hand out and you're saying 'I need help with my child', because ideally you look after your child yourself independent of anyone else.

'You just feel like you're constantly fighting with people to get what your basic needs are.

'Temple Street have worked so so hard to get him where he is, and it's all just going to fall apart, because I won't be able to allow him to go to school dirty.

'He's also being catheterised now, five or six times a day, but they're able to do that much at school because they'll train an SNA to do that.

'Louise has done an awful lot of work for us, she's been advocating for him fantastically, I have to say.

'She has been in touch with certain people in the HSE and they've been in touch with me, and they've said they're trying to talk to the care provider.

'They said they've talked to over twenty one homecare companies and none of them are willing to do the hours.'

The most frustrating thing, Shona explains, is that the carers who currently come to her home are willing to work the hours required to enable Ruarí to go to school, but that this will not be sanctioned by the care provider.

For their part, Gaelscoil Ros Eo have been 'absolutely amazing', she says.

Everything has been put in place to fully accommodate Ruarí in September, and the school have 'in every respect, just been a hundred percent supportive.'

Speaking of her contact with the HSE, which has been working to find a solution, Shona says: 'I've explained very clearly to them, I'm not trying to be difficult or trying to suit myself - there's a reason I'm asking for these hours, and the genuine reason is so that Ruairí can go to school twice a day and be like any other child at school.'

Shona concluded: 'As a parent, it's very hard to look at your child in that situation, and as a parent you get on with it and you do what you have to do because you'd do anything for your kids.

'Sometimes it's not easy, but most of the time he's just a joy to look at and when he's doing well, we're doing well.'

Fingal Independent