Belfast Telegraph

Family's fears after disabled son ordered to leave care home

By Victoria O'Hara

The distressed mother of a severely disabled man has spoken of her fears over where her son will live after being issued with a 'termination notice' from his care home.

Margaret Butler, from Bangor, Co Down, says she has been left in "emotional limbo" after being informed her son Steven will have to be moved to new accommodation by August 31.

A new home his parents believe meets Steven's needs has still not been identified – leaving them concerned about the impact it could have on their son.

The 26-year-old, who was born with complex physical and psychological health care needs, moved into Blair Lodge in Bangor in 2009. But Margaret and her husband Raymond raised numerous concerns over the last 12 months believing that it was not suitable.

Among the issues was that due to the environmental conditions Steven could not be allowed to crawl freely for an appropriate length of time out of his wheelchair.

They also felt it wasn't suitable for him to be living with other residents with challenging behaviour.

After months of meetings to address the issues a 'notice of termination' was issued in May.

The South Eastern Trust said it was "confident" his needs had been met but the private residential care home "no longer consider themselves to be a suitable environment" for Steven.

They are now "actively engaged with a provider of Supported Living" to find a placement. But a permanent alternative has not been found and Steven may have to move to an interim accommodation.

"Nothing has been confirmed – I don't know where he will live," Margaret said.

"He needs supported living and enough space that he can crawl without bumping into wheelchairs and injuring himself.

"I really believe that is a human right. He can't talk for himself. I have to do it and I won't give up. It has to be right."

The South Eastern Trust has said two offers of other facilities for Steven have been declined but Mrs Butler claimed they were not suitable. A trust spokeswoman said Steven's care manager is "actively scoping" options.

"In terms of a substantive placement, the trust is actively engaged with a provider of Supported Living," she said.

"Mr and Mrs Butler have expressed some reservations, but not to the point where this option can no longer be actively pursued."

Story so far

Steven Butler was born with complex physical and psychological health care needs. He lived at a private residential care home in Bangor for five years. However, his parents Margaret and Raymond raised concerns it was not suitable. A termination notice has now been issued meaning the trust must find Steven an alternative by August 31. However, Mr and Mrs Butler are concerned a suitable Supported Living facility will not be found.

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