Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Disabled people 'sleeping in wheelchairs' due to social care cuts

Published 10/11/2015

Disabled people are sleeping fully-clothed in their wheelchairs due to cuts to social care
Disabled people are sleeping fully-clothed in their wheelchairs due to cuts to social care

Disabled people are sleeping fully-clothed in their wheelchairs and surviving on biscuits due to cuts to social care, according to a new report.

Many are in crisis because social care care services are "crumbling", the research by the charity Scope found.

It said that people have had their care packages cut and cannot get the right care.

The Scope survey of 500 disabled people found 55% say they cannot get the support they need to live independently.

Some 55% of disabled social care users do not think they have enough hours in their care package.

Rachel Watt, 36, from Southampton, is in constant pain and has ended up sleeping in her wheelchair.

She said: "Since 2010, I have had two thirds of my care package cut, from two and a half hours a day down to 45 minutes.

"In November 2010, I lost my evening call to help me get ready for bed. Then a few months later I lost my domestic assistance, and then the following year I lost my meal preparation time.

"Now I just have a short morning call to help me get washed and dressed.

"On my worst days, I can't get undressed properly in the evenings, or transfer from my power wheelchair into bed, so I have to sleep in my chair, in my clothes.

"I had to fight to get a care call so I can shower once a day. My local authority suggested that three days a week would be enough.

"It's horrible.

"When my arms aren't working properly, I can't prepare meals, so I end up just having bread.

"Before, I would have had my meal prepared. The last time I was in hospital, they told me I was malnourished."

Josie Evans, 40, from Bristol, said her basic needs were met but she has no real help leaving the house.

"It means that some days I barely get to speak to anyone, let alone have a social life.

"If I get an infection and have to ask my carer to pick up a prescription, I don't get to have a shower that day. There just isn't enough time.

"After three years of asking, my council have finally agreed to give me 45 minutes a week for social time."

Robert, 63, from Warwickshire, suffered an accident 15 years ago and is entitled to 14 hours of support a week.

He said: "If you have a week like I had last week, where I had three hospital appointments, all my social care is used up on getting me to hospital.

"If I'm on my own, I don't have anything to eat or drink all day. There's a bottle of water and a box of Belvita biscuits by my bed, and that's all I'll get to eat all day because I can't afford to pay for care. So life is miserable, to be honest."

Jo Allen, 47, from Cambridgeshire, who has spinal muscular atrophy, said: "You end up cutting corners with the very basic things. I might end up not washing my hair, because it means I'd be keeping the carer here too long. It might take me three quarters of an hour to have a shower, but social services say 'Well, actually you can do that in 15 minutes'."

The Scope research found 36% of disabled social care users said support has become worse since 2010, with 19% saying it had improved.

Overall, 29% of social care users say their hours of support have been cut, while 24% say their hours have been increased.

And 83% of those whose hours of support have been cut say they now do not get enough support through their care package.

Mark Atkinson, chief executive of Scope, said: "Our findings show the horrific consequences that disabled people face as a result of our collapsing social care system.

"Disabled people have told us they are waiting fourteen hours to go to the toilet, sleeping in their clothes, unable to eat or wash and left socially isolated."

He said social care funding gap is growing by at least £700 million a year.

"The social care system is crumbling under severe financial pressure and this is set to intensify when the spending review further reduces the funds available to cash-strapped councils."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "No-one should be left for hours waiting for the care they need.

"We've set new guidelines for councils on how they commission their services so people do get enough time and enough say over their care.

"And we're making sure older and vulnerable people have a strong health and care service, having invested an extra £3.2 billion to social care between 2011-2014 and putting £10 billion extra into the NHS during this Parliament."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph