Bernie is campaigning to bring home her autistic son Francis who currently lives four hours away
Bernie Redman said her 20-year-old son, Francis, has now spent more than six months living away from the family’s specially adapted house in Lochgilphead, Argyll.
He was hospitalised last October after falling ill during a day trip to Oban and later placed in the Millport Care Centre on the Isle of Cumbrae due a lack of council support packages.
Francis, who is unable to speak and has severe learning difficulties and epilepsy, has not been able to return home to his family since then.
Mrs Redman, 60, whose husband Frank died suddenly five years ago, said: “It is like a part of me has been ripped away. I lost my husband to a heart attack and I feel as if I’ve lost my son because there is nobody here to help us so he could stay home.
“He is now a young adult and I do appreciate he has to have a level of independence in his life. But that does not take away the fact he needs looking after.
“We have renovated this house to cater for his needs and there is even a granny-flat for a carer. It’s just that there are no carers to take on the job over here.”
Francis was hospitalised in October after falling ill on a day trip and hasn’t returned home since
He’ll be there for at least six months while they are trying to find something suitable for him closer to home.
To reach Millport, Mrs Redman faces an epic journey road and sea via the Rest and Be Thankful and across the Erskine Bridge, or via the Dunoon to Gourock ferry, before catching the Cumbrae ferry at Largs.
As a result, she is only able to visit once a week and was unable to spend Christmas Day or New Year with Francis.
The nurse is now petitioning Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Government to make arrangements for her son to be able to return home from the care centre, which is run by private firm Embrace.
Mrs Redman currently only sees her son once a week at a care centre in Millport
If that isn’t possible, she fears being forced to sell the house where Francis was brought up along with his brother Joe, 22, and his sister Adele, 24, who took a year out from her university studies to help with his care.
“I don’t know what is going to happen,” said Mrs Redman. “I had hoped Francis would be back home by now but I’ve just been told he will be given accommodation in Millport but I don’t know how he’ll settle.
“He’ll be there for at least six months while they are trying to find something suitable for him closer to home. I’ve been told he could end up in Helensburgh as that’s the nearest place with the kind of support he needs.
“If I knew that’s where he was going to be I could sell the house and move there myself, to be closer to him if I can’t have him at home.
“At the moment I visit him once a week. It’s a three-and-a-half hour journey involving two ferries. If the weather is bad I can’t get to him. He turned 20 in the care home, he was there for Christmas and New Year.”
Jackie Latto, from the Scottish Autism charity, said they were constantly battling against limited resources when it came to adult support services.
She added: “There is a greater level of targeted support available for autistic children across Scotland which tends to drop sharply once they reach adulthood.
Bernie is petitioning Argyll and Bute council and the Scottish Government for a change
“Organisations like ours are investing in further adult services although there is always a limit in resources. Local authorities are also continuing to face severe financial constraints which puts a further barrier on providing better adult-focused support.
“The Scottish Government’s Strategy for Autism requires that people with the condition have access to services which understand their needs and are able to deliver in ways specifically related to their autism, therefore it is vital to review the recommendations from this strategy to ensure that progress is being made across Scotland in delivering quality services.”
An Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership spokesman said: “Sometimes, if an individual requires extremely specialised care then this is provided in a facility outwith Argyll and Bute.”
Source : EXPRESS