What is going on Hywel Dda?

Dear Editor,

I kindly ask your permission to say a few words about something that saddens me so much. My grievance is with the Hywel Dda Trust, who I have in the past depended on completely during my years as a carer for my elderly mother. I have no brothers and sisters to share my workload; therefore I am at the mercy of agencies who provide support during difficult times and illness. Hospitalisations have been numerous in the past four years, and my frail mother has needed much help in recuperating from many an illness. Withybush General Hospital do discharge at an alarmingly fast rate after treatment eg. 4 days after major bowel surgery and 2 days after an urinary tract infection. Those who know my mother would understand that she would not immediately be able to return to an independent life at home at 85 years of age after such treatments. As I have not yet won the lottery, I am not in a position to give up my work, and therefore depend on agencies to help mum live a comfortable and safe life in times of physical weakness.

The care she received in Cardigan hospital in the summer of 2012 was priceless. When she was too weak to take care of her own physical needs, trained nurses and carers were there to provide this, and the peace of mind this gave me cannot be put into words. She was in a place central to family and friends, and visits from these made her recovery all the faster. Yes, I realise the financial position the board is in, and that cutting funds here will enable the building of a new hospital sometime, but to provide no such essential support for the elderly in Cardigan for the present and near future, is that fair?

My mother was taken ill again four weeks ago. This was on a Friday. After admittance to Withybush, it was decided that due to the fact that she was no longer on intra-venous medication by Monday, that she was now in a position to go home. Could she take care of personal needs unaided at this point? No. Was she strong enough to make or carry any food or drink? No. She needed to recuperate. Hywel Dda closed Cardigan hospital’s beds. This was like a slammed door in our face. Pembroke Hospital was offered (an hour’s drive near enough from Hermon), or better still, Tregaron! Going back to my opening sentence, we now both feel very sad. My options were to inform work that I would be off for an unknown length of time, or to use an excellent respite care home in Goodwick which has helped me in the past when the family needed a break. So Goodwick it was. (No more respite for us this financial year as my quota is now used up).

Hywel Dda, what’s going on? The news is full of increased awareness of the needs of the elderly and their carers in a country with an ageing population. Yet you offer poor support for the likes of mum and I in the Cardigan area. I am now saddened and disheartened, and find that being a carer is getting nigh on impossible.

Meleri Williams.

Hermon

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