Bishop's Stortford woman wins battle with Essex County Council to get 99-year-old grandmother into care home
A devoted granddaughter said a desperate battle to get her nan into a care home after she was injured in a fall in her flat left the 99-year-old wanting to die.
Gemma Hughes, 39, of Cavell Drive, Bishop's Stortford, resorted to a desperate plea for help on Facebook after the family had been told Maud Boultwood would be discharged from hospital back to her Harlow flat with a care package.
Carers would come four times a day, but the family were concerned about Maud falling out of bed and about her not being able to get a drink and go to the toilet.
Gemma revealed in the Facebook post the injuries her nan suffered after falling from her mobility bath, which caused horrific bruising to her head and face.
"She's now scared to live on her own, and her wish, for her remaining years, is to be in a care home where she has someone available to help her 24/7," said Gemma.
"She's frightened to be alone at night because the falls she's had have been during the night."
Gemma added: "Essex social services have now decided there's no need for her to be in a care home and she's to go back to her flat alone and have a carer four times a day, for them to put her into bed at 7pm and leave her there until someone turns up at 7am to help her out.
"She cannot get up unaided to wash, go to the toilet. Their solution to her needing a drink during the day is to leave her surrounded by flasks of hot drinks.
"Her mental health has dropped so low that she's phoned both me and my father, Eric Boultwood, and said 'I’d rather die than lie here'.”
Maud, whose husband Eric died in 1972, was taken to Harlow's Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) after the fall on June 22. After a period there she was transferred to St Margaret's Hospital, Epping, for rehabilitation.
She stayed in St Margaret's for three weeks as the family refused to let Maud go home until she was allocated a social worker.
When that happened, despite the family's reservations, social services insisted the plan would be to send Maud back to her flat. On Saturday August 7 they met with Maud and Eric at St Margaret's to confirm the plan to send her home.
After the post on Facebook, which Gemma shared with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Maud's MP Robert Halfon and national media organisations, she received a huge response – and within two days things had changed.
"At 8.30 on the Monday morning we got a call and they said there'd been a change and Nan could go into a care home," said Gemma – but she was furious it took her Facebook post to get things moving.
"The lack of communication is horrendous and the help needed for those that need it is non-existent unless you fight for it. This shouldn’t be the way.
"The whole process has caused many tears, hours of phone calls and many, MANY emails."
Maud, who lived in her flat in Harlow for 36 years and was well known in the local area as 'Maudie', is now settling into life in Ashlyn Care Home, Harlow.
Although her mobility is limited, Gemma says, her nan is as bright as a button. "Mentally she's still got all of her faculties. She's stubborn, she's proud, she's the matriarch of the family."
Up until a few years ago she would go to her nan's flat with her three daughters – Leila, 12, Georgia, 10, and Darcey, 2 – for dinner.
She added that after being at the home a week Maud was a little unsure of the move, but Gemma felt it was the right decision.
"They're really, really lovely there," said Gemma. "I know she'll settle down."
An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “While it is inappropriate to comment on individual cases, Essex County Council is continuing to work with Mrs Boultwood and her family, in accordance with all established processes and procedures, to deliver an appropriate solution to meet Mrs Boultwood’s assessed eligible care and support needs.”