People with disabilities – a place to live

 

Sir, – The HSE’s policy is to empty large residential homes of their disabled clients and reintegrate them into the community, as outlined in its 2012 report New Directions. Unfortunately there seems to be no coherent plan regarding where these disabled people will live.

Compounding this problem, more than a thousand disabled adults, some still in their 30s and 40s, are living in nursing homes across the country, many against their will, because they cannot live independently. This runs counter to the HSE policy of discontinuing congregated settings for disabled people. Many others are currently living at home with ageing parents, and face an uncertain future.

Our disabled son, now aged 40, is among them. He lives at home with my husband and I and is wholly dependent on us for all his needs. We are now in our mid- to late-70s and have been advocating on his behalf for several years to press the HSE to provide for his long-term care in an appropriate residential setting. We have identified an agency that fully meets his needs and wishes, and that is prepared to offer him appropriate residential care in a community setting, with round-the-clock support, along with a small number of clients of a similar disability. However, the HSE has told us that no funding is available. When pressed, it has also informed us that if something should happen to my husband and I, our son will be brought by ambulance to a local hospital where he may be left for several months or even years, at substantially more cost than the accommodation we are seeking, until residential care is found for him, most likely a nursing home.

Is this the best our Government can offer its vulnerable disabled citizens? – Yours, etc,

ROSEMARY GRAHAM,

Malahide,

Co Dublin.