Able2UK Losers

Man with no arms or legs loses his care worker

D J Calvert

A disabled man has been told by the Northern Health Trust they can no longer provide a care worker to assist him with dressing or taking a shower.

DJ Calvert, who was born without arms or legs, told BBC Northern Ireland: "I've been let down - and I'm not the only one."

The trust has said they understand his frustration and "the worry it is causing”, but assured that they will  "seek an alternative provider" that would "support him to continue living independently in his own home".

They went on to say more funding is needed to continue offering support to vulnerable people in the community.

Mr Calvert, from Portstewart, County Londonderry, lives by himself but has daily visits from a care worker to help with basic hygiene and personal care.

He received a seven-day-a-week package of care after his mother, who used to assist him, was no longer able to support him as much as she once did.

When Calvert was contacted by his social worker last week to inform him the service had stopped he thought ‘somebody was winding me up’.

His care, provided by Connected Health, is scheduled to finish on 1 December due to  "increasingly stretched in ever more demanding circumstances" due to “struggling” to find more staff, resources and funding.

Eddy Kerr from Connected Health told the BBC's Evening Extra programme: "There's a lot of unmet need out there and certainly, as a provider, we are under pressure to meet that need.

"Decisions have to be made weekly, daily, hourly, with regards the care we are able to provide," 

Connected Health said in a statement: “We will continue to lobby hard for the necessary resources to care for the thousands of vulnerable adults waiting for a package of care in Northern Ireland today."

Calvert has regular visits from his friend Vicky four days a week who gives his additional support around the home, but if his care is taken away it means he could be by himself every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A prospect which has caused him great concern.

"I asked the social worker: 'What is the worst case scenario if I can't get help?' and she told me: 'We'll have to get you a bed in a care home,'" he said.

"My anxiety is getting worse. I panic and wake up in the middle of the night because I'm dreaming about being in a care home.

"The system has failed [people] who need care and help. The system has crashed. There's not enough funding."

Calvert believes if staff were paid more money the care system would not be in the current crisis which is affecting thousands of people across the country.

"I believe we should get Stormont back up and running, get the heads together and inject money into the care system and allow care workers to earn a bit more money," he said.

"You could earn more working in a supermarket than you can in the care profession.”

His mother, Heather, was shocked when she heard the care package was coming to an end within the next few weeks.

"I was under the impression that this was permanent," she told Evening Extra.

"You just don't know where you are all the time and what's going to happen to him and that is a very big worry."

[ 75% of carers in employment worry about continuing to juggle work and care according to Carers UK, State of Caring 2022 ]

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