Woman receiving 24-hour social care ‘told to wear incontinence pads’ after cut in hours

A wheelchair user who was told her social care hours would be cut has asked MPs to consider what it would be like to have to wear incontinence pads instead of being able to go for a toilet break.

Sophie Weaver (pictured), who was previously assessed as needing 24-hour social care, was told her hours would be cut to 15 per day after a review in the last year, the Health and Social Care Committee heard.

She has Still’s disease, a rare type of inflammatory arthritis, and needs help to get in and out of bed, wash, shower, go to the toilet and leave the house.

Ms Weaver said she was told she could wear incontinence pads in the hours they felt she did not need much help, except for going to the toilet, as “we can’t give that amount of care just for toileting needs”.

She told MPs: “And I felt that that’s quite insulting.

“And I’d like to say to anyone in this room: how would you feel if any of you were told that you can’t have a toilet break this afternoon because you’re in select committee… here we go, here’s some incontinence pads?

“On a human rights level that shouldn’t be considered as a solution.

“So things like that need to be questioned.”

The committee was hearing from social care users as part of its part of its inquiry into workforce issues in health and social care settings.

Ms Weaver said her local authority has agreed she can continue to receive full-time care while the decision is reviewed by solicitors.

She described feeling “on tenterhooks” in the run up to annual reviews, with questions about her care becoming “more intrusive” each year.

She continued: “You feel like you’re having to justify why you need the care that you’re saying you need.

“And I think for someone in my position, having had full-time care for a number of years, that has set a precedent.

“So why is it suddenly being questioned when you’ve got a condition that isn’t going to improve?”

Ms Weaver said she believes there is a lot of turnover in social care because staff find it difficult when they go into a sector to help people but end up having to tell people their care hours need to be reduced.

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