Kildare mother’s care protest at hospice

A Kildare mother staged a peaceful protest outside a Dublin children’s home over the weekend.

A Kildare mother staged a peaceful protest outside a Dublin children’s home over the weekend.

Cathy Andrews, from Kilcock, undertook a peaceful protest outside the LauraLynn Hospice (formerly known as the Children’s Sunshine Home) on the Leopardstown Road, Dublin, to highlight what she considers to be restrictions imposed by management there.

Ms. Andrews said these restrictions prevented her from being with her son 25 year old son, Ronan, a long time resident at LauraLynn on some occasions. He has severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy, a profound level of learning disability and a chronic lung condition. He is often seriously ill and if transferred to hospital, either Ms. Andrews or her husband, remain with him.

Ms. Andrews frequently helps care for him.

She claimed has been “falsely accused” of creating difficulties for staff because of her insistence that her son should not be confined to his bed, in isolation, for a large portion of the day.

Management at Laura Lynn stipulated that she may only visit her son for limited hours during the week, and not at all over the weekend.

On 21 Febraury, Ms. Andrews refused to leave LauraLynn when her restricted time was up. She said she was then “escorted away from her son and off the premises by the Garda - at management insistence.”

At the weekend, she and supporters took part in a peaceful protest at the centre.

Laura Lynn spokesperson, Pat Sammon, said the Children’s Sunshine Home had the greatest understanding and sympathy of how stressful care situations can be for individual family members.

“Recently, senior staff met to review the care programme for one young adult, with highly complex medical needs, who is resident at the Children’s Sunshine Home. The young adult receives 24/7 residential care and has been cared for at the Children’s Sunshine Home since 1990. At all times, the care needs of the young person have been of the highest priority for staff and management at the Children’s Sunshine Home. Throughout this we have engaged with the parents of the young person, who we fully understand find themselves in an on-going stressful and upsetting situation.”

Mr. Sammon said the management have to balance individual concerns with the needs of all the other children and people being cared for in the residence. “With regard to the young person in question, the Children’s Sunshine Home decided it is in the best interests of the young person and all the patients at the residence, if a programme of managed visitation of family members was introduced. 

Mr. Sammon concluded:“The management of the Children’s Sunshine Home have informed the HSE of the situation and will continue to meet and engage with the parents to review and explore all the appropriate measures that can meet the evolving care needs of the young person.”

- Henry Bauress