A PORTLAOISE woman said she hasn’t the energy to fight and she is at the end of her tether following the cessation of the adult respite service at Fountain View, Abbeyleix.
On Friday afternoon, the 63-year-old widow contacted Fountain View as she wished to book an appointment for respite for her daughter on the final weekend of September only to be told the service, run by the HSE-funded Muiriosa Foundation, was no longer available.
“My daughter is 23 and we’ve been using Fountain View for the past five years. I received absolutely no warning of this. I didn’t hear anything from a Social Worker or the Muiriosa Foundation. It is very tough. I am my daughter’s sole carer and the only little break I get is when she is in respite in Abbeyleix.”
The mother of nine, who wished to remain anonymous, said she felt ‘really isolated’.
“My husband passed away seven years ago. I don’t have a partner and the rest of the family have their own lives and jobs to look after. I’ve been in hospital myself and would have been lost were it not for the service at Fountain View.”
She said a member of Fountain View staff informed her that there will be an expanded service at Mountrath Children’s Respite House, ‘catering for adults every second week’.
An Action Group has been set up to oppose the reduction in services and they will be staging a protest this Saturday, September 22 at 3pm, starting from the Manor Hotel, Abbeyleix.
Chairperson of the Action Group is Michael Gorman and he explained, via the Laois Down Syndrome Facebook page, “This is a protest against the relocation with subsequent significant reduction of respite services for adults and children with disabilities in Laois and the negative effect this will have on any required emergency respite by families.”
He said that the Muiriosa Foundation had taken away a service from families to make their day to day running easier. “It is supposed to be about choice and this is taking our choice away.”
The upset mother told the ‘Leinster Express’, “I rang Michael. I received no letter whatsoever in relation to Fountain View. I see no light at the end of the tunnel.”
She added, “If anything happened to me, my daughter would be on her own. She depends on me, so she can’t go to a neighbour or ring someone. It is a constant worry, even more so now when the back-up of Fountain View is gone.”
Mr Gorman remarked, “The first this lady heard of the Fountain View situation was when she contacted them on Friday for an appointment. That isn’t good enough.”
Muiriosa Foundation CEO Brendan Broderick said the implications in relation to Fountain View ‘vary very significantly on a family-by-family basis’. “Some families will retain their current level of access to centre-based respite – indeed, some families may secure an increase in such access; others will be directed towards Share-a-Break type options; some families will receive a reduction centre-based respite.”
Mr Broderick explained a general communication wasn’t issued to families as this would have led to confusion and anxiety. “We have resolved on a strategy of briefing individual families on the rationale necessitating the current changes and the implications for their son or daughter.”