Disabled woman describes "inhumane" 21 hours without homecare due to staff shortages

Sharon Colgan says she was left in bed without food and water
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.42 28 Apr 2022

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Disabled woman describes "...

Disabled woman describes "inhumane" 21 hours without homecare due to staff shortages

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.42 28 Apr 2022

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A Wexford woman says it was "inhumane" that she was left for 21 hours without a home carer due to COVID-19 staff absences.

Sharon Colgan - who has cerebral palsy and a spinal injury - says she was left without food and water because the homecare company, which the HSE pays for, could not find a replacement carer due to staff shortages.

She went to bed on Saturday at around 8.20pm, and could not get out of the bed until 5.00pm on Sunday evening.


A HSE statement says it takes all complaints seriously and South East Community Healthcare has been made aware of an issue in the region.

Sharon told Newstalk Breakfast no one should be left in circumstances like she was.

"The hardest part of the whole thing is the fact that the HSE pay a homecare provider company to provide care for me, because of my disability... they let me down.

"That's what they did, and didn't see anything wrong with it.

"All they kept saying to me was 'We're trying to get a new carer for you'.

"I said I understand that people get sick, but obviously there was no other strategy put in place that they couldn't get a carer - a relief carer, if you like.

"It's so inhumane that I was left in the situation that I was.

"This is why I have to speak out, because I want to find out was it just me that this has happened to - or was there other people, and they're afraid to go public.

"And what I've heard over the last couple of days since my story broke [is that] it's not me, it's across the board".

Sharon Colgan Sharon Colgan. Picture by: Facebook/Sharon Colgan

'No water, no food'

She says she really thought something would be done as she lay in her bed.

"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 saying to myself 'I wish I didn't have these disabilities, I wish I didn't need this care'.

"I wish I had a normal life that I didn't have to depend on care companies for this to be able to do the basic stuff".

She also says she had "no water, no food, nothing - and I've two dogs with me as well, and they couldn't get out either.

"It's not the homecare provider company's fault, I don't think - I think it's the fact that people are not taking up positions as carers.

"They're leaving for better paid jobs and stuff, and that's not fair either on us that have to depend on the homecare packages that the HSE are giving us.

"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".

Sharon adds that all homecare companies should be scrutinised, and a new strategy for healthcare should be put in place "today, not tomorrow or next week".

She says this should make it easier for healthcare workers, companies and users.

"They're getting paid by the HSE to provide a service, and how they cannot - they're taking on the client or the user in the company, and it's their job to provide a service to whatever user in question.

"Unfortunately on Sunday it was me, and they couldn't do it", she adds.

Disabled woman describes "inhumane" 21 hours without homecare due to staff shortages

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Main image: Sharon Colgan. Picture by: Facebook/Sharon Colgan

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COVID-19 Staff Absences Home Carer Homecare Hse Newstalk Breakfast Sharon Colgan Wexford

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