Family outraged as council axe overnight care to severely disabled Wishaw woman

The family of a severely disabled woman have hit out at council chiefs’ decision to withdraw her overnight care.

Elizabeth McManus, 54, who lives in her own home, has received 24-hour care since birth.

Her family say she has the capacity of a six-year-old and won’t cope if she’s left by herself.

But after an assessment, North Lanarkshire Council’s social work contractors Support for Ordinary Living informed them that Elizabeth will have to rely on “assistive technology” overnight.

Her niece Claire McManus, 27, said the move will put her aunt at severe risk.

Claire, of Glasgow, explained: “They tried using a camera in Elizabeth’s room to communicate with her but she didn’t understand how to use it.

“So now they say they will have motion sensors around her bed instead, which supposedly alert staff if she gets out of bed and someone will come.

“But they won’t have any information about what she is doing out of bed. She could just be trying to go to the toilet; on the other hand, it could be an emergency.

“It can take carers up to 30 minutes to get to her and the sensors aren’t set off by any cries for help.

“If she felt distressed or in pain, she wouldn’t have the capacity to know what to do to get help.

“She has no sense of danger – she can’t even recognise herself in the mirror. Fundamentally, she can’t be home alone.”

Elizabeth received full-time care from her parents until her mother died in 2014, shortly after her father went into a care home.

The council then recommended she could live by herself while receiving 24-hour care.

Claire’s dad Charles, 56, said: “My sister deserves not only to be safe and cared for properly but also to retain her dignity and her human rights.”

Claire added: “We understand assistive technology can work for some people. The issue we have is the council are taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach without listening to the people who know her best.”

Bobby Miller, head of adult social work services at the council, said: “We cannot discuss the individual support needs of people using our services.

“Ensuring that vulnerable people receive proportionate and appropriate care that meets
their individual needs forms an important part of the care support we provide.

“Any changes to arrangements only occur after a full assessment of all potential risks.”


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