Outrage as bedridden woman, 98, is ruled ineligible for care funding

A woman has been left outraged after being told that her 98-year-old bedridden mother, who suffers from dementia and can barely move, does not qualify for healthcare funding.

Sue Smith who is fighting for care funding for her 98-year-old mother SUS-170328-111122001
Sue Smith who is fighting for care funding for her 98-year-old mother SUS-170328-111122001

Former teacher Sue Smith hit out this week at the ‘injustice’ and ‘extremely harsh’ interpretation of the level of care her mother needs.

Sue, from Storrington, said her mother has been in the Koinonia Christian Care Home in Worthing for the past three years, where she received ‘excellent care.’

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But care costs are £4,500 a month and have, so far, been funded by the sale of her house. And Sue was shocked when she recently applied for funding and was told her mother - former teacher Phyllis Hawker - did not qualify.

“I’m outraged at the injustice of it all,” said Sue.”My mother is completely immobile in bed and can only move her right arm and head.

“She is doubly incontinent and has had pressure sores since 2015 which sometimes require the attention of a district nurse almost daily as they are full skin thickness.

“Her cognitive level is at the most severe as she understands very little and cannot contribute to any level of need. Every need has to be planned for by two carers. She does not know when she is thirsty or hungry.

“She is on morphine for the pain in her legs, which are bent double, and for her pressure sores.

“All her food has to be pureed as she cannot chew and feeding her takes a long time.

“Her behaviour can be challenging as she can hit and scratch when having personal care and attention to her pressure sores or even just when she feels like it. I have been hit on many occasions.

“She is also anxious and afraid and frequently says ‘they are going to kill me’. She has not recognised me for a long time.”

She added: “I am at a loss to know how much worse my mother could be.”

A spokesman for the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, responsible for funding, said: “We cannot comment on individual cases.

“Adult NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is a package of care or placement solely funded by the NHS which is provided outside of a hospital to a person aged 18 or over to meet identified physical, psychological or mental health needs which arise as the result of disability, accident or illness.

“CHC is not agreed based on a person’s age or a particular diagnosis but on individual care needs.

“A full comprehensive assessment is completed, together with information from the patient and, or, their representative and other health and social care professionals involved in their care.

“Should the outcome of the assessment be the individual is not eligible for NHS CHC, there is a NHS England Appeals process which West Sussex Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group complies with.

“The Appeals process is explained in the eligibility letter sent to the individual and/or their legal representative at the end of the assessment process.“