The young mother of a child with serious special needs has been left without any home care help from the HSE.
23-year-old Georgia Grogan is studying law while caring for her four-year-old daughter Skye who needs round-the-clock care.
Up until last December, Skye had two home carers who were able to support Georgia with her daily care and give her time to focus on her studies.
Both have since left the profession and the HSE has been unable to find anyone to help.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Georgie outlined what Skye’s care involves.
“Skye went four at the end of September,” she said. “She is great; she is bubbly, she is very social – she's happy most of the time but physically, she is very dependent on me.
“Cognitively, she is aware of a lot but she is non-verbal. She can’t sit up yet. She’s a full-time wheelchair user and she doesn’t use her hands so she needs help with everything – eating, feeding, and self-care.
“She is high dependency.”
Georgia is a single mother who is juggling Skye's needs with her legal studies in DCU.
She said she is calling and emailing the HSE almost every day – but “the help just isn’t there”.
“They’re not really saying much,” she said. “They’re looking at respite facilities.
“They want me to fill out long forms that are very emotionally draining to fill out when you’re writing down on paper every little thing your child can’t do and it is probably going to be a waste of my time because I know they don’t take children under six.
“I also don’t want to send her way. I want her to be home. So, it is kind of just a waiting game and me ringing them every second day and sending emails getting nothing back.
“I am very lucky to have a lot of people fighting my corner as well but nothing is coming from it.”
She said the lack of a home carer is impacting on Skye’s development.
“I’ve noticed a lot of changes with her since we haven’t had carers,” she said.
“She likes to be entertained. She loves people. I think she is noticing me being exhausted because that is kind of what I am now at this point; I think she’s picking up on it and her routine has changed.
“She used to sleep through the night all the time but now we’ve had some really difficult nights where she’s still up at 5am and I’m trying to get her up at 6pm to get her ready for school so it’s not very functional, to be honest.”
Georgia said she holds no resentment about the lot she has been handed at such a young age – but she feels she deserves some support from the State.
“I’m not resentful,” she said. “I mean how could you be? I wouldn’t wish it on anybody but it can happen to anyone.
“I think I’m more so just a bit deflated with it all at this point and it’s sad. It is sad that there are not a lot of supports.
“I didn’t know anything about accessibility or inclusion until I was met face to face with it. Now every time I leave the house, I think oh, I could never take Skye here or I could never get her in this doorway and I am kind of met with it day to day whether she is with me or she is not.
“It is sad more than it makes me angry.”
She is doing all she can to stay motivated and happy – even though she feels things are only going to get harder in the coming years.
“Life happens and I am dealing with it,” she said. “I’m dealing with my responsibilities head on and I don’t think it is too much to ask that I have a little bit of help at home.”
She said being a single parent makes the situation much harder.
“It is very, very different being a single parent and being able to end you day with someone to talk to,” she said.
“Because on top of the physical side of it, like being exhausted and just feeling not able for it, there’s also the emotional side to it that you are dealing with on your own.”