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29th Apr 2022

Irish woman left alone without carers for 21 hours due to shortage

Ellen Fitzpatrick


A woman in Wexford has revealed that she was left alone in her home for 21 hours with no food or water due to a carer shortage.

With many carers being absent due to Covid, Sharon Colgan, who has cerebral palsy was left stuck in her urine-soaked bed for almost 24 hours as she awaited a carer to arrive.

Speaking to Newstalk earlier this week, Sharon said she had gone to bed at 8.20pm on a Saturday and stayed there until a carer arrived the following day at 5pm.

Sharon said she was left in “inhumane” conditions, making her wish she never had to rely on any healthcare providers.

She said: “The hardest part of the whole thing is, I mean, the fact that the HSE pay a home care provider company to provide care to me because of my disability… They let me down. That’s what they did, and you know they didn’t see anything wrong with it. All they kept saying to me was, ‘we’re trying to get a carer for you, we’re trying to get a new carer for you.

“I understand that people get sick, but obviously, there was no other strategy put in place that they couldn’t get a carer.”

“It’s so inhumane that I was left in the situation that I was, and this is why I have to speak out because I want to find out was it just me that this has happened to or is there other people and they’re afraid to go public and tell their situation.

“And what I’ve heard over the last couple of days since my story broke, it’s across the board. It’s not just my home provider. It’s all of them in the country, which is so wrong.”

Believing there would be improvements as the day went on, but hour after hour with nothing changing, she lost hope.

She said: “At the start, it was like it’s going to be fine. They’ll sort something. They’ll find something, but as the day went on, I was kind of saying to myself, I wish I didn’t have these disabilities. I wish I didn’t need the care. I wish I had a normal life that I didn’t have to depend on care companies for this.”

Sharon wasn’t able to access any food, water or look after her two dogs and while she admitted she knew it wasn’t the company’s fault, she couldn’t help but be disappointed in the system.

“I think its the fact that people just don’t want, they’re not taking up positions as carers or they’re leaving for better-paid jobs and stuff, and that’s not fair either on us that have to depend on the home care packages that the HSE are giving us and put in place and I have to look at it and say this is my future. My disabilities are not going to go away. this is my life now, so I have to make sure that I have everything that I can live independently in my own home with the care package in place.”

“I want all care companies to be investigated. Not just the one that provides my care, all of them in the country.

“I want a new strategy for healthcare to be put in place by the government today, not tomorrow or next week. Today. I want it to really address and turn right around that it makes it easier for health care workers, health care companies and health care users like myself that we can say right we don’t have anything to worry about anymore.”