Longford man being deprived of his rights

Residential care: Longford family cannot cope

Kevin Forde

Reporter:

Kevin Forde

Email:

kevin.forde@longfordleader.ie

Longford man being deprived of his rights

The Mahon family, above, who have asked the HSE to issue James (seated third from left) with a place at Oaklands Longford, but to no avail

A Longford family has issued a call to the HSE to allocate their son a place in a Longford residential care facility, first promised to them over 18 months ago.

Mother-of-five Geraldine Mahon and her husband Billy live together with their son James in their family home near Newtownforbes Co Longford. James (28) has Autism and his care has recently presented some serious difficulties for the family.

Geraldine and her husband are now unable to cope with James’ increased strength and influx of episodes, due in part to Geraldine suffering from arthritis and scoliosis and Billy battling COPD. This has led to a number of incidents in the household, one recent incident which resulted in Geraldine (65) receiving a black eye.

Geraldine told the Leader, “James’ behaviour has changed. We investigated every possible medical reason for it and I think James has just reached the stage where he wants to move on and he is trying to show us this through his behaviour.

“He gets frustrated with me in particular, but he doesn’t mean to hurt us. He needs something that we can’t supply for him. We have had several incidents, but the one that catapulted us into action was when I received a black eye.”

The recent incident alerted the family to the fact that they can no longer cope. Her husband is now too afraid to leave her in the room alone with James, in case any incident occurs.

The family sought help from the HSE and were promised a place for James at a residential care unit at Oaklands in Longford.

This place has not yet been allocated due to a lack of funding. Geraldine was left angered at the solution offered to her by the psychiatric services, which was to use the sedative Risperidone.

“James doesn’t need sedation and everyone agrees he doesn’t. The behavioural therapist, the people working with him, they all feel that if we could adjust his environment, medication wouldn’t be necessary.”

Geraldine worries that she and her husband cannot continue for much longer, while also noting that the delays are impacting not only the life of James, but the entire family.

“It is going to be impossible for us to continue into the future.

“James is being deprived of his rights. We all have the right to be among our peers, to live in an environment that is good for us.

“Please, please give James this place before he’s hurt or someone else is hurt and it’s too late,” Geraldine urged.

The HSE were contacted but declined to comment as they ‘cannot comment on individual cases’.