Pensioner is prisoner of community care
TRAPPED in her own bed for more than 12 hours every day, Suffolk pensioner Eileen Adams has become a prisoner of care in the community.The day after Liam Byrne, care services minister, announced that preserving older people's dignity was to be made a top priority, Mrs Adams, 76, has told how her new care arrangements mean she must be put to bed at 8.
TRAPPED in her own bed for more than 12 hours every day, Suffolk pensioner Eileen Adams has become a prisoner of care in the community.
The day after Liam Byrne, care services minister, announced that preserving older people's dignity was to be made a top priority, Mrs Adams, 76, has told how her new care arrangements mean she must be put to bed at 8.20pm and does not see another carer until 8am the following day.
Her original arrangements saw carers come in at around 10.30pm but despite claims that there will be more care in the community, she has now been told that she must go to bed two hours earlier.
The changes to Mrs Adams' care are due to the fact that carers currently employed by the county council will be switching over to the Home First scheme - designed to look after people after they first come out of the hospital.
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For all other care, such as that needed by Mrs Adams, the council are employing carers from an independent company called Briar Care.
The changes to care are part of health trusts' plans to get people out of hospital more quickly and treat more people at home.
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The pensioner needs a wheelchair to get around and once she has been put to bed by her carers is unable to move herself until they come in and help her out in the morning.
She said: “I thought they were supposed to be putting more in care in place in the community but it seems to be getting worse.
“I'm sure there must be a lot of people worse off than me who are too scared to say anything.”
Mrs Adams' mobility problems began when she was diagnosed with a cyst near the top of her spine.
She has been in a wheelchair since the early 1990s.
She said: “I'm still very mentally alert, it's just my body that is the problem.
“But what about people that can't express themselves like I can?”
Mrs Adams, of Levington Lane, Bucklesham, has a catheter fitted which she can use if she needs to urinate during the night but any other needs must wait until the morning.
Yesterday care services minister Mr Byrne said that dignity for older people was to be a top priority. He said: "Dignity is everybody's business. So we'll be asking watchdogs, nurses, doctors and newly appointed older peoples champions to join together with one goal: to make dignity in care a priority."
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council's social services said: “Briar Care's manager is meeting with Mrs Adams today and we hope that they will be able to come to an agreement which is mutually agreeable to both of them.”
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