Birmingham care bosses blasted in shower row
BIRMINGHAM social care bosses have been accused of cutting back on much-needed adaptations to vulnerable disabled and elderly people’s homes.
An opposition Labour councillor claimed a new policy, adopted by Birmingham City Cabinet, meant more people would be refused modifications such as walk-in showers, when they were unable to climb into a bath.
Coun Barbara Dring (Oscott) said she was horrified to be told 74-year-old Mary Butler, an elderly resident in the early stages of Alzeihmer’s Disease, did not qualify even though she had suffered several falls at home. She said: “I have been told that, due to a policy agreed by the cabinet, this lady’s hygiene needs are considered to be met because she has professional carers.”
But Mrs Butler’s husband, Bryon, a retired driving instructor and HGV driver, said the carers would not lift her into a bath because of health and safety concerns, so she had to have a wash down.
He said: “She has not had a bath for months. It is undignified and also takes the carers a long time. With a walk-in shower, I could help her.”
The council has recognised Mrs Butler, a retired carer, is at risk of falling and has fitted a stairlift in her home in Hassop Road, Great Barr.
Coun Dring said: “I raised the shower on their behalf but was told in a letter that, under a policy agreed by the cabinet, those with professional carers do not get a walk-in shower.
“This is an outrage. These are the people we should be trying to help. This seems to me like more council cutbacks.”
But the council said adaptations to homes must be carried out on a priority basis and denied there were cutbacks.
A spokeswoman said: “In line with national guidance, everyone who requests an adaptation to their home must first be assessed by an occupational therapist.
“The occupational therapist will then make a recommendation, the findings of which will be interpreted based on a priority need assessment.
“Individuals classed as having a higher need will be given priority.”