Don’t put my sister’s life in danger by taking away her carers

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My sister Ruth has complex learning disabilities. She’s autistic, non-verbal, epileptic and unable to wash herself, feed herself or go to the toilet. She needs 24hr care. Ruth has a nice, busy life, living in her own home thanks to the excellent care we as a family have had to fight so hard for. 

All of this is being threatened and Ruth is potentially being put in danger because her overnight care workers have been replaced with a technology system. That’s why I’m asking East Renfrewshire Council to reinstate Ruth’s overnight carers and not leave her alone at night.

Ruth is now 27 years old and has only been living independently for 6 months with her carers. It has been fantastic to see her begin a new independent life, and wonderful to see my parents finally be able to rest after many years of struggle. Everyone in the family could sleep soundly knowing Ruth was safe, no matter what happened to the rest of us.

Ruth’s care workers have become not only her emotional and physical support but also her friends. They are now expected to leave her alone at the end of the day and hand over control to a technology system. 

In this new system, Ruth would have to be locked in her home overnight, with no physical support, attention or care. Ruth wakes often in the night, sometimes in distress, and cannot go to the toilet or speak for herself. The new telecare system expects a stranger to be able to communicate with her about how she is doing and what she needs, from a camera system placed in the room. Ruth not only cannot respond to this, but is likely to find it distressing. 

Advocacy workers, police, health professionals, carers and many people in the wider community condemn the course of action being embarked upon by East Renfrewshire Council. 

Even the fire brigade had said that this could be potentially dangerous for Ruth and they don’t approve of her being left alone at night. 

A friend whose son has similar disabilities as Ruth experienced their local authority trying to impose this new system on him. However, with a successful petition, the decision was reversed.

I don’t want to live in a society where vulnerable people like my sister are left alone with only technology at night. I hate the additional stress that it puts upon my parents. My Mum is now staying at Ruth’s home every single night. She cannot in good conscience leave her daughter alone all night. This is not an independent life for my sister or my mother. What makes it so devastating is that it destroys the great strides made for Ruth in recent months.

Please help us change this! I don’t think anyone as vulnerable as Ruth should ever be left locked-up, alone, in their home all night.