In need after leaving safe haven

2018-03-13 06:00

A 47-year-old woman who has been asked to leave a safe haven in Grassy Park due to a leg amputation is calling on the community for assistance.

Speaking on behalf of a frail Roland Amos, John Januarie says his sister in-law was a resident at the Grassy Park Fisher Centre for mentally and physically challenged people up until two week ago and is now left with no care.

“She is currently in hospital receiving treatment after her toes, and then foot, had to be amputated. The centre doesn’t want her back because of a shortage of staff. They also say they don’t have place for a wheelchair, which is untrue as we have been there to visit numerous times,” he says.

“The place is big and made to accommodate residents like this. She needs to be trained for six weeks to walk with crutches and a stick and I can’t do this in my small council home, which accommodates many others. She needs a good environment according to doctors and I can’t neglect her.”

Amos is known to have lost her home in the area a few years ago and has been a resident at the centre for almost a year. Januarie, who is himself elderly, is now calling on locals in the area to assist him in caring for Amos.

Dr Thomas Blake, chairperson of the Grassy Park Fisher Centre, says the safe haven has a policy regarding the kind of residents that can be accommodated.

It essentially offers residential care for the mentally and intellectually challenged, some of whom might have medical problems­.

“We accept some residents who have well-controlled medical problems. Once complications occur, or if their condition is out of control or difficult to manage, we can no longer accommodate them as we have no medically-trained staff. Such is the case with Amos. The resident required hospitalisation and once in hospital required an amputation. This was done without the family’s or our knowledge,” explains Blake.

“We cannot provide the kind of care she now requires. We are not a hospital, a nursing home or a frail care centre. This resident requires a frail care or nursing facility and this needs to be discussed with the social worker at the hospital and her family­.

“We contacted the resident’s family to discuss her discharge from hospital, but they declined to meet with us.”

But locals in the community have now become concerned about the centre’s licensing after yet another complaint, this following the death of a 55-year-old disabled resident last December (“Safe haven patient death queried”, People’s Post, 6 February and “Mental institute speaks out”, People’s Post, 20 February).

Mark van der Heever, the deputy director for communications at the provincial health department, says: “The departments of health and social development can confirm that we became aware of the facility when they initially sought licensing. They are registered as an NPO and were provisionally licensed with certain conditions as they had patients in their care,” he explains.

“The governance of this type of facility is a joint responsibility between the departments of health and social development who are both actively engaging the facility through on-site visits around their shortcomings. The appropriate care for vulnerable patients is of utmost importance, which is why the departments have engaged the facility on the way forward.”

Januarie continues to call for assistance from the public in any way possible to make things easier for Amos and her family­.

V Contact details for the family are available from the People’s Post offices.

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