‘Graig carer in plea over health cutbacks

The wife of a man left disabled by an undiagnosed MRSA infection has criticised the Government for not providing better support for carers.

The wife of a man left disabled by an undiagnosed MRSA infection has criticised the Government for not providing better support for carers.

Eileen Roche, who is 72 years old and lives just outside Graignamanagh with her 86-year-old husband Thomas, has urged Health Minister Dr. James Reilly to reverse cuts to home care services. Eight years ago, her husband Thomas had his hip removed after developing an MRSA infection, and since then she has been his primary carer. “I find it very difficult on my own,” she said.

“Weeks go by and we don’t leave the house unless [it’s] to go to the hospital. “Carers are different from other jobs, we can’t afford to go on strike because we couldn’t leave the people we care for lying there for hours. But we’re at breaking point and something has to be done before it’s too late.”

In spite of the importance of carers, the sector has seen major cutbacks in the recent past, with the respite care grant reduced by 19% and the mobility allowance scrapped.

There have also been a reduction in the housing adaptation grant. More potential cuts in this December’s budget are feared. Thomas bruised his hip after reacting badly to an anaesthetic eight years ago, and this bruise developed into a hernia and septicaemia.

An abcess formed, then burst, and only after this was the presence of MRSA discovered. By then the bacteria had eaten away at the hip and it had to be removed They packed his hip with stuff that turned to concrete andsometimes you think it’s going to burst,” she said.

Ellen said the couple’s retirement plans are ruined. “We had our little house in the country, kids were all grown up and away, we should have been enjoying ourselves,” she said. “Now I’m here all day and he’s in bed. It shouldn’t have happened and the state should be helping people like us instead of putting us under pressure,” she added.