The family of an elderly Co Armagh woman admitted to hospital following a fall have criticised the Southern Health Trust's refusal to provide an adjustable bed for her home.
Although the 70-year-old is fit for discharge, there will be a long period of convalescence that's likely to be spent in bed.
She suffers from Alzheimer's and vascular dementia, along with osteoporosis, and the bones in her spine are crumbling.
She was admitted to Craigavon Area Hospital on December 3 after falling from her bed at home, sustaining a spinal fracture.
She then tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to a specialist ward.
Two weeks ago she was moved to a Covid-19 recovery ward in Lurgan Hospital, then on to a rehabilitation ward.
Now ready to go home, a short-term care package has been arranged, for which the relative who is the full-time, unpaid carer is very grateful. However, she doesn't feel that proper consideration has been given to appropriate health and safety concerns.
She said: "I'm not asking the Earth, and we are not seeking to drain the trust's resources.
"I know they need to free up the place in the ward for someone else. I'm willing to take on all aspects of care as soon as she is discharged.
"I've been with her every day for the past three years, and sadly I have seen her deteriorate. I know how she comprehends things, and her memory is very poor.
"Because I can't visit, I have to ring her every day to remind her why she is in hospital."
The relative added: "I can handle the majority of issues but I know putting her into her ordinary divan bed is not going to work.
"For a start, I won't be able to manoeuvre her properly, and her existing bed is not adjustable.
"The spinal fracture is unstable, and the dementia consultant has warned the next phase will affect the area of the brain which coordinates balance.
"This was her third fall in a year, and she is still in pain from an incident last April, which impedes movement on her left side. The crumbling bones in her spine, not to mention the recent fracture, are very painful.
"I have repeatedly asked for the assessments upon which the refusal to provide a bed is based, and I'm still waiting. It's just been a flat 'no'."
The Southern Health Trust said: "Whilst we do not comment on any individual patient, we encourage any patient, or their family, with concerns about their care and treatment to contact us so that we can directly respond to those concerns."
The matter has now been escalated to a formal complaint, and the carer has shared the issue with the Commissioner for Older People.