Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Wheelchair-bound pensioner's fury as support from carer is cut 'out of the blue'

Wheelchair-bound Roy Patterson (79) has had his care hours cut each day and is struggling to cope

A wheelchair-bound pensioner has voiced anger over an "out of the blue" cut to the time he receives support from a carer.

Roy Patterson, from Donaghcloney, Co Down, suffers from a form of muscular atrophy, a muscle wasting condition and diabetes.

After spending around 10 days in hospital last May a care package was set up through the Southern Trust to support him at home.

The 79-year-old, however, said they were told on Tuesday the morning schedule would suddenly change within 24 hours.

Mr Patterson, who is not allowed to stand up on his own due to his condition, said he was told the length of time his carer could spend with him would be reduced from one hour in the morning to just 30 minutes.

He relies on the carer for a number of tasks including washing his hair, monitoring his shaving and helping to bathe.

"The carer would come for one hour in the morning and for a 15-20 minute visit in the afternoon and the evening," he said.

"It was just about adequate and nothing more, sometimes it ran over, but the carers would be good enough to accommodate me."

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has a contract with Lydian Care, a domiciliary care services provider, to care for people needing assistance in their homes, including Mr Patterson.

The trust said that staff "regularly review individual cases". The trust also said any changes are discussed with the individual and their carer before any action is taken.

But Mr Patterson said he was never made aware that his case had been reviewed and was just given 24 hours' notice.

"We weren't given any official notification. It was just the carer who said she had to cut her time with me to 30 minutes in the morning and it would start the next day," he said. "There were a few things that there wasn't time to do and just had to be left, the young lady had to go.

"It's not her fault. She is just doing as she it told. This then puts more pressure on my wife to help, who has problems with her hands."

His 78-year-old wife Laura said: "The one thing that makes us angry is that we were told by the carer. Nobody senior thought to tell us or write to us"

Mr Patterson said he believes there is not enough staff: "You always hear that there is 'no money, no staff, no time'. I'm sure I'm not the only one this is happening to."

When contacted, Lydian Care said it could not comment.

A spokesman for the trust that employs Lydian Care, however, said the budget had increased by 1% for approved providers of domiciliary care services.

"The trust assesses and agrees the level of domiciliary care services to be delivered using regionally agreed eligibility criteria," he said.

"The needs of service users are always changing and our staff regularly review each individual case to ascertain if there have been any changes to current level of need and how the need can be met.

"Any changes are discussed with the individual and their carer before any action is taken and staff advise clients of all the local alternatives available."

Quotes

Roy Patterson: "We weren't given any official notification. It was just the carer who said she had to cut her time with me and it would start the next day.

Trust spokesman: "The needs of service users are always changing and our staff regularly review each individual case to ascertain if there have been any changes to current level of need and how the need can be met."

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