Woman calls in ombudsman over payment of husband’s care costs

A carer whose husband suffers from Alzheimer’s
disease has made a complaint to the health service ombudsman over
not receiving free nursing care for her husband.

Barbara Pointon has been caring
for her husband Malcolm since his diagnosis of early onset
Alzheimer’s in December 1991 when he was 51.

He is
now 61 and in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. He has no mobility,
cannot wash, dress or feed himself and is doubly incontinent. He
cannot speak or understand the speech of others, is losing his
sight and has panic attacks. He needs carers to move him using a
hoist several times a day to avoid pressure sores

the former Cambridgshire health authority said that because the
24-hour, seven-days-a-week care he needed was personal care not
nursing care it would not contribute to the cost. In reply, Barbara
Pointon said:”The special kind of care we give him is identical to
that given by staff on a specialist ward in an NHS

spokesperson for South Cambridgeshire PCT, which replaced the
health authority on 1 April, said:”We haven’t received any formal
communication from the health service ombudsman but clearly if we
do we will investigate thoroughly. In the meantime, we have agreed
to the family’s request for a full health assessment of Mr
Pointon’s health care needs.”

Alzheimer’s Society said it is “fundamentally unfair” that personal
care for people with dementia has to be paid for. The society’s
chief executive Harry Cayton said that the divide between nursing
and personal care is undermining good quality dementia


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