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Mary Lou McDonald TD calls on Taoiseach to immediately intervene in case of Olivia Harte

11 July, 2017 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today called on the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to urgently intervene in the case of Olivia Harte who has been on delayed discharge for the last six months as the HSE have refused her an Intensive Homecare Grant despite the medical advice of Cavan Hospital who say she should be at home with 24-hour nursing care.  

The Dublin Central TD said:

“I have raised the chaos within the health service many times in the Dáil, and today I raised the human consequences of this chaos with the Taoiseach. Olivia Harte is a 41-year-old woman from County Leitrim.

“A mother of two young children, Collette and Ronan, she suffers from an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease. Olivia is currently in the intensive care unit of Cavan General Hospital and has been there for the last seven months.

“Olivia has been on delayed discharge since January, yet remains in hospital six months after she was ready to go home.

“She is on a ventilator most of the time and on oxygen to allow her to eat. Olivia is fully cognitive with a memory that would put most of us to shame. She can walk a short distance with assistance, but is physically very weak.

“This is Olivia’s reality, lived out in the clinical surroundings of a medical facility while her two children play at her bedside.

“The medical team at Cavan General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit say that Olivia should be at home with a 24-hour nurse caring for her, yet she cannot go home to her family because the HSE has refused to fund a homecare package.

“Olivia’s application for the Intensive Homecare Grant has been turned down as has application for the Older Persons Homecare Grant.

“Olivia celebrated her recent birthday, her 10th wedding anniversary, and both of her children’s birthdays in Cavan ICU, instead of at home with the care that could and should be available to her.

“In their 2018 Pre-Budget Submission published today, Family Carers Ireland say that, ‘for too long homecare has been underfunded, inconsistent and inequitable’.

“This government is spending €11m less on homecare than it did in 2008. At the beginning of May, there were more than 4,500 people waiting for homecare packages.

“Vulnerable citizens must be provided with long term care in their home when needed.
Olivia is one such citizen.

“Today in the Dáil I called on the Taoiseach to intervene and ensure the HSE give Olivia the dignity of being able to return home to her family by funding the home care package she so desperately needs."

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