'I’m fighting just to live in a home' - Disabled woman's care package cancelled last minute

After months of negotiation and staff training, Geraldine Lavelle's care package was cancelled "out of the blue".
James Wilson
James Wilson

16.25 10 Aug 2023

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'I’m fighting just to live in...

'I’m fighting just to live in a home' - Disabled woman's care package cancelled last minute

James Wilson
James Wilson

16.25 10 Aug 2023

Share this article

A disabled woman who was due to move into her own home after 10 years in care has spoken of her shock after her care package was cancelled ‘out of the blue’.

In 2013, Geraldine Lavelle was paralysed from the chest downwards after a car accident.

Ever since, she has required care - but she never thought it would take a decade before she was able to move back into a home.


“When I moved from the hospital setting, I had no choice but to move to a Cheshire Facility in Sligo,” she told Lunchtime Live.

“I’m originally from Castlebar - but I’ve been living in Sligo for the past nine years.”

At first, Ms Lavelle expected she would be in the Cheshire Facility for a few months - but the months turned into years.

She describes the facility as something that “does the job for people transitioning to a new life” and she has always hoped to move back into a home of her own.

To do so, she needed to agree a care package with the HSE - but this proved harder than she had hoped.

“Initially, I was told my hours were going to be reduced from 47 - which I receive in a residential setting - to 41 living on my own in the community,” she said.


Ms Lavelle described the offer as “kind of ridiculous in itself” because it would not have helped her achieve her goal of becoming as independent as possible.

“Finally, through a lot of perseverance, stress, health problems, I got 56 hours with the help of a politician, advocates and constant emails,” she said.

“That was approved in May of this year and it literally felt like I had won the Lotto.”

She received the keys to her new home in Sligo and the HSE arranged for a care provider to shadow Cheshire staff so that they could learn how to look after her in her new home.

'Square one'

“We had spent months interviewing staff, filling out clinical records, meeting with their nurses - these procedures don’t happen overnight,” she said.

“Then, out of the blue, I received an email on a Friday evening telling me, ‘Due to one staff member resigning, we are no longer in a position to provide your care. Good luck in the future. All the best.’

“I was just sat there, looking at this email on a Friday expecting next week I was going to do another night or two of shadowing and then eventually, I was going to move out of the centre.

“Yet again, I was back to square one.”

Emotionally, Ms Lavelle said the situation “takes its toll” but it has also put her under financial pressures as well.

“Where does that leave me, paying rent in Sligo, paying electricity in Sligo, paying rent, electricity, bins, my home alarm system, all that in Castlebar as well?” she said.

“That’s just an impossible feat, I’ve been doing it for the last month or so - but I can’t do that long-term.”

Ms Lavelle said she would “so much happier” if she had her own home but does not know when her dream will become a reality.

“I’m just fighting literally just to live in a home, in my own house,” she said.

“Imagine, how much energy I could be using in other aspects?”

You can listen back here:

Main image: Geraldine Lavelle

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