HSE concerned intellectually disabled man living in ‘squalor’

Authority seeking court protection for man (30) who has not accessed necessary services for some time

The HSE is seeking High Court protection for a severely intellectually disabled and autistic man amid concerns he is living with his mother in squalid conditions and has not accessed necessary services for some time. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

The HSE is seeking High Court protection for a severely intellectually disabled and autistic man amid concerns he is living with his mother in squalid conditions and has not accessed necessary services for some time. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

The HSE is seeking court protection for a severely intellectually disabled and autistic man amid concerns he is living with his mother in squalid conditions and has not accessed necessary services for some time.

The High Court heard that the condition of the man, now aged 30, appears to have regressed over the years despite many attempts to engage with him. The HSE is concerned about his mother’s “reluctant and inconsistent” attitude to professionals providing services, which he has not received since late 2018.

The mother had cancelled more than half of his scheduled appointments with service providers, Paul Brady BL, for the HSE, said.

Mr Brady was making an ex parte (one side only represented) application on Thursday for orders with a view to having the man made a ward of court.

Counsel told High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly that the man was diagnosed with intellectual disability and autism in 2007 and received respite care in a facility from 2012.

He lived with his father for a short time before going to live with his mother, following which there were difficulties, Mr Brady said.

‘Very bad condition’

Counsel said a service provider had in 2016 arranged for the mother’s home, then in “very bad condition”, to be cleaned amid concerns including that bins had not been put out for months, mattresses were dirty, rooms were full of rubbish and rats were present.

The man’s mother was given respite money for a clear out which appeared to have gone missing but, because a contingency plan had been put in place, the house was cleaned, he said.

Mr Brady said it appears the situation concerning the house now is “exactly as before”.

A report indicated there were more difficulties in 2017 when an application for wardship was considered, counsel said.

A services provider was instead engaged and provided a report outlining efforts over a year and the difficulties experienced in trying to get the man’s mother to engage with them “in any meaningful way”.

Their efforts, including to take the man out for a hot chocolate, were not reciprocated by his family, he said. There was also a referral to a mental health disability team but staffing issues arose.

Assess

The application for an order for a court medical visitor to assess the man in the context of a wardship inquiry was brought because of a view he is of unsound mind, is living in “significant squalor” at home and the lack of contact with services, the court heard.

The HSE’s view was that engagement with the man’s mother may have to end because she has cancelled more than half of the scheduled appointments made for him, counsel said.

The mother is concerned about the wardship application but efforts will be made to engage with her positively about that, he added.

Mr Justice Kelly was satisfied, on the evidence before the court, to appoint a medical visitor to assess the man; to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the his interests and to grant liberty to notify the man’s mother in regard to the HSE’s application.