An investigation is under way, looking into the cuts of all care services to a 64-year-old disabled woman. Those cuts allegedly led to her death just days later.
According to a story by Zoe Drewett, of metro.co.uk:
An urgent investigation has been launched by Portsmouth City Council into the death of 64-year-old Anne Savidge after 18 care agencies contracted to look after her were cancelled days before Christmas.
The severely disabled former midwife was unable to leave her bed to eat, drink, or go to the toilet, but was left to fend for herself at her home in Southsea, Portsmouth. Her care was axed on December 10 last year amid claims she had been verbally abusive to staff.
Six days later she was rushed to hospital, where she died on December 21.
The revelation was made by disabilities campaigner Geoff Holt, who was a friend of Ms Savidge and has now sparked an urgent investigation by the city council.
During an impassioned speech at a recent Portsmouth City Council meeting, Mr Holt described the shocking conditions his friend lived in in the days before her death.
He was quick to apportion blame, saying:
“I am in no doubt whatsoever Anne’s lack of care over that period was to blame (for her death).
Conservative councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said she was shocked to hear of Ms Savidge’s death.
“The first I have heard about this terrible, horrific incident of this lady’s passing was just then in those comments by Mr Holt,” she said at the meeting last week.
“I think it is right and proper the council does carry out an investigation and that we do look into the circumstances to find out exactly what has happened.”
I am not going to comment further on this sad case, the truth will come out soon enough.
Similar problem handled differently
However, it has prompted me to think back to a case in which I had direct involvement a few years ago.
Margaret (not her real name) was disabled with severe problems caused by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
According to copdfoundsation.org, COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases. These include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness.
Care was given to Margaret during four visits of professional carers every day.
- Getting her out of bed, bathing and dressing her. Giving her breakfast.
- Preparing her lunch.
- Preparing her dinner.
- Getting her ready for bed and settling her down for the night.
Additionally, any personal needs were dealt with during visit.
Despite her diagnosis, Margaret continued to smoke and drink and thought of her carers more as servants, there to do her bidding. Of course, they were there to do a job involving allocated tasks, not whatever extras she felt they should do for her.
Unfortunately, refusal often offends – and Margaret lashed out verbally many times. In short, she was abusive.
The local council’s social services department did all it could but, eventually, every care agency it used refused to visit.
To try to help, I attended one case conference with social services, medical professionals, and Margaret. Everything was open to discussion, we explored all the difficulties and possible solutions.
We ended with a compromise. I made Margaret understand that the carers only did the tasks that were set for them, and she was not to abuse them. In return, the council agreed to fund two carers per visit, to which one care agency agreed to provide the necessary service.
And, there were no further problems.
Footnote: Margaret has since succumbed to her illness and died. But this was despite moving into sheltered housing and receiving care right to the end.
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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.
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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I am not a doctor and cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely my own unless otherwise stated.