Eight-month-old Ellie Ward to get home care package that will allow her to leave hospital
HSE approves funding for baby whose story was covered in ‘Irish Times’
Ellie Ward, with her father John, is due to go home after six months in hospital. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The HSE has told the parents of an eight-month-old child that it will provide €46,000 for a home care package that will allow her leave hospital.
Despite being given the medical all-clear to go home last March, Ellie Ward could not leave Temple Street Children’s Hospital because she was refused funding for a home care package. Her parents John and Sandra were told to reapply in January 2014.
Ellie was featured in last Tuesday’s Irish Times Health + Family supplement in a cover story about how the lack of HSE funding for paediatric home care packages means children have to stay in acute hospital.
John Ward said he was told on Wednesday that the HSE has approved funding for their home care package and they can expect to bring their baby home within two weeks. “We are over the moon” he said.
Ellie’s lungs collapsed in February after she contracted a virus at eight weeks of age. She was transferred from Galway University Hospital to Temple Street and found to be suffering from subglottic stenosis – a narrowing of the airway. Two weeks later, she was fitted with an emergency tracheotomy to help her breathe.
She will need 24-hour monitoring until the tracheotomy can be removed. “The tube can get blocked and she stops breathing . . . She needs a nurse 56-hours a week to watch her at night so we can get some sleep,” said Mr Ward.
Without the funding, Ellie would have remained in acute hospital until at least January 2014. The cost of keeping her in Temple Street for six months has already reached €73,000.
“We are delighted to be bringing our child home, but ... we are still thinking about other babies stuck in hospital who also need funds,” said Mr Ward. “We want to say thank you to the nurses, social worker and doctors at Temple Street for saving our child and helping us with all we went through.”