Mum who spent months in hospital after sudden paralysis feels 'worthless' as care needs 'not met'

  • ITV Wales' Kate Lewis reports

A mum who suddenly became paralysed from the waist down says her care needs are not being met following her discharge from hospital.

Jess Ennis, 30, feels that since returning home from hospital she has been "let down" after having been "promised the world".

Jess, from Gelligaer, near Ystrad Mynach, was hospitalised after becoming paralysed from the waist down while she was in the bath.

She was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), a condition which causes problems with how the brain receives and sends information to the body, and spent six months in hospital.

"It's setting Jess back not having the proper care. If she got it, it might help her get her back on her feet." Credit: ITV Wales

The local community rallied together to ensure Jess would be able to move back into her home in time for Christmas, launching a fundraising campaign to pay for materials and labour to make the adaptations needed.

But now, having moved back into her home, the mother-of-two says her care needs are not being met. 

Speaking to ITV Wales, she said: “When I came home, life hit me. I wasn't the person I thought I was going to be. I thought I was just going to ‘snap’ and be Jess again, but that didn't go to plan. I couldn't be the mum I wanted to be, and couldn't be the wife I wanted to be."

Jess and her husband Conan say they were "promised the world" upon Jess’ return home. They say the care package which was promised to them consisted of three home visits a day, as well as physio to try to help Jess regain some mobility.

She continued: "I feel really let down since coming home. I feel worthless, like I’m a burden. In the hospital it was all 'we’ll do this, we’ll do that', but that’s not how things have happened.

"Physio is so important for me. I haven’t moved my legs in seven months. People can overcome this condition and I want to be back on my feet again. But if I’m just being left, I haven’t got a chance. It feels like I’ve just been left and nobody's given me the chance to be the best I can be."

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In the absence of the promised care, Jess' husband Conan has assumed responsibility for all her personal needs. 

He said: "We were promised the world but not much has been followed through. But it's been over a month with no physio. We were promised three carer calls a day, we only get one morning call. It makes us feel let down.

"It's setting Jess back not having the proper care. If she got it, it might help her get her back on her feet.

"It is really challenging. I would do anything for my wife but we have two little children. There's a massive impact on the family."

A tearful Jess said: "I just want the care that I was promised so that I can be the best I can be. All I want is a chance and I haven't even been given that."

After fundraising by her local community, Jess was able to move back home in December Credit: ITV Wales

A spokesperson for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: "We’re very sorry that Ms Ennis is not happy with the follow-up care she has received since leaving hospital.

"We cannot discuss an individual’s care but can confirm that we have spoken with Ms Ennis to discuss her concerns.

"We meet the national target for physiotherapy referral to treatment outpatient appointments of no more than 14 weeks for routine neurological physiotherapy, and currently have no patients waiting over that target."

A spokesman for Caerphilly Council said: "We are working closely with the family to ensure an enhanced package of support is delivered as quickly as possible and positive progress is being made."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said they are "facing an incredibly tough financial situation" but are "protecting the core local government settlement – which funds social services and social care". 

They added: "Latest data shows spending on social care in Wales is 43% higher per head than in England. It is also higher than in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

"We recognise we must reshape services to ensure our health and social care system is fit for the future and our increasingly ageing population. Our longer-term strategic vision is for a national care service in Wales."

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