Wigan mum's 'nightmare' living in unsuitable flat with disabled son

She also spoke of the problems she is experiencing with a care company.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 9th April 2021, 9:03 am
Michael Pitcher and Beverley Beckett

Beverley Beckett is desperate to move out of the cramped Scholes flat she currently shares with Michael Pitcher, who has Down’s Syndrome.

Michael, 29, contracted Covid-19 and then had a stroke which robbed him of mobility and all use of his left side.

That means the rented flat is far too small to accommodate all the equipment he needs and has resulted in mother and son having to sleep in the same room.

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She also spoke about Care Choice North West, the company which visits four times a day, saying the staff are constantly rotating which he finds very difficult to cope with and it took months to get them to agree to shower him.

Wigan Council said discussions are ongoing about a property move and it has also spoken to Beverley about Michael's care needs.

Care Choice North West said it does its best to meet clients’ needs but it is not always possible to ensure a fixed team of staff are doing the visits.

It also said there had been delays in specialist equipment arriving.

Beverley, 62, said: “We’re living in an obstacle course, it’s a nightmare.

“Before this Michael had the box room but his bed and all the equipment won’t fit. We’ve got the hospital bed, a huge shower chair, a wheelchair, all sorts. It’s not a home any more, it’s a hospital ward. I’ve swapped one hospital ward for another.

“The council social worker was lovely, she empathised and said we couldn’t live here. That was six weeks ago. I’ve been leaving voicemails but I’m getting nowhere.

“We need a bedroom for a carer, a bedroom for Michael and one for me. I shouldn’t be living like this.

“We’ve had a lot of problems with Care Choice North West. They are indifferent to his need of consistency and his insecurity with strangers. We waited three months for him to get a shower. I kept asking but was fobbed off.”

Beverley did enjoy a ray of light amid her ordeal recently when she and Michael appeared on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway where they were given a holiday.

The treat was arranged by one of the moderators of a Facebook group called The Virtual Tavern where Beverley posted about Michael’s illness during his weeks in hospital and received a huge amount of support from members.

Beverley said the group had been “ a lifeline” to her and also praised More Than Words, which sends staff round to do activities with Michael.

Joanne Willmott, Wigan Council’s assistant director of provider management and market development, said: “Ensuring our residents have access to high-quality care and live in homes suitable to their circumstances are key priorities and we work very closely with housing colleagues and external care providers.

“Upon joining our online housing register, residents can state that their current accommodation is not for purpose.

"Where appropriate, for example due to medical issues, these applications can be given additional priority, to reflect the additional needs of the applicant.

"We can also support residents to access a range of different accommodation that is right for them, such as more specialist supported accommodation, private rented or housing association properties

“Discussions with Ms Beckett are ongoing and we are working hard together to find a way forward.”

Julie Lanaghan, registered care manager at Care Choice North West said: “We will always engage with families to meet their needs and where possible, we will ensure a fixed team is on hand to provide consistency and the opportunity to build relationships.

“In some cases, hospital equipment needs to be bespoke, which is why we have clear processes to support families in the interim until these deliveries are made.

“We will continue working with Ms Beckett to ensure the best care for her son.”

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