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Sussex woman forced to sleep in wheelchair due to lack of care staff

A woman has been left to sleep in her wheelchair several nights a week and remain in bed for the rest of it due to a lack of social care in her local area.

Mandy Page, 53, who lives alone in Hove, has difficulty getting into and out of bed on her own and previously had carers to provide support in the morning and evenings.

However, since before Christmas she has had no care support in the evenings after the MyLife East Sussex agency told her it was no longer covering her care, and that the agency believed her care was now being provided by her local authority.

Page receives dialysis three times a week at Royal Sussex county hospital, and on those days arrives home, by hospital transport, after 6pm. This means that without help getting out of her wheelchair and into bed she must sleep in the wheelchair.

“It’s very stressful, because at the moment I’m in bed every day. I can’t get up without help, and I can’t get back to bed on a dialysis day,” Page said. “On a dialysis day, I go to dialysis and I’m in my wheelchair. Every other day, I’m in bed all day and all night. That’s no life.

Page’s situation exemplifies the crisis in social care. England has faced chronic shortages of care workers, with a survey by Care England finding that 95% of care providers struggle to recruit and retain staff. In 2020/21, there were around 105,000 vacancies at any one time in the social care sector, and more than a third of the sector’s staff left their jobs during the year.

Page says the lack of adequate social care has taken a negative toll on her quality of life, and has meant she hasn’t been able to undertake everyday tasks.

Rob Persey, the executive director for health and adult social care at Brighton and Hove council, said the council had not been able to source a new provider for Page since her earlier care was withdrawn.

“This is a national as well as a local problem as there are insufficient home care staff to meet demands. Various local initiatives, including additional funding, have been taken to increase the home care workforce, but so far they have only had a limited impact."

“We recognise Mandy does not want respite care, and acknowledge this is a completely unacceptable situation for her,” he said.

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Source: The Guardian, 28 February 2022


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