A disabled Wexford woman with cerebral palsy and a spinal injury, who was left in her urine-soaked bed without a carer due to staffing shortages in a care company, has received a HSE response to a personal complaint she made through the “Your Service Your Say” system.
Haron Colgan of Shanna Court who has been granted a meeting via Zoom with the Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte on Wednesday, June 1, lodged a complaint about her treatment on April 24 when Woodbrook Care which provides her with a service paid for by the HSE, failed to send a carer to her home and she was left lying in bed from 8am the previous night to 4.30pm that day.
In a response similar to a recent HSE report received by Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne, who highlighted Ms Colgan’s neglect, Rhonda Grace Conroy, complaints officer with Community Care Services sympathized with Ms Colgan over the incident.
Thanking her for contacting the HSE through the “Your Service Your Say” process, she said: “I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you experienced with your home care cover on 24 April.”
She went on to outline how the sickness of three home care staff employed by the service provider had led to a shortage of cover on the day and while attempts were made to secure cover, there was a delay of seven hours in the delivery of a service to here.
Repeating information outlined in the HSE response to James Browne, she said: “The HSE expects that all commissioned PA and Home Support Providers will make all practical reasonable attempts to cover shifts. Disability Services in South East Community Healthcare do not currently have the capacity to manage unfilled services.
“Both service users and where appropriate their families are aware of this and of the requirement to use their own personal supports and resources to meet their ne3eds in times of crisis/emergency.
“An SECH Home Support Improvement Plan for SECH is being developed by Older Persons Services to be shared with Disability Services with the aim to ensure consistency and equity in the planning and delivery of Home Support Services. A potential additional service requirement such as an on- call system will also be explored.”
Ms Grace-Conroy said that “as there is no further action I can take, I now consider your complaint closed with this office.”
“If you are dissatisfied with the response, it is open to you to make a complaint to the office of the Ombudsman”, she advised.
“How can you simply close a case and brush it under the carpet like that. I’m still living with the consequences of this, dreading every day that it might happen again. Mentally, it has set me backwards,” reacted Ms Colgan.
Welcoming the chance to speak to the Minister of State for Disabilities, she said the only reason the meeting is on Zoom is that she cannot get to Leinster House as HSE patient transport is only for medical appointments.