A Ponoka County family is wondering how they will be able to care for their disabled son, now that his home care funding has been chopped by 50 per cent as of April 1.
Cobyn Hanson-Murphy, 19, is a quadriplegic who receives home care through the self-managed care funding program, which allows families to hire a private caregiver to provide care at home.
His spinal cord was severed in 2016 during a cycling accident, and he has been under the self-managed care program for almost three years.
“He has no feeling, or movement, below his shoulder level. He’s just lucky to be able to breathe on his own,” said his mother, Misty Murphy.
“We don’t understand these cuts. I can’t even understand how we’re going to function. If we can’t do this, it’s long-term care.”
Being at home allowed him to finish high school and take Red Deer College classes.
She said cuts were made to time allotted for his therapeutic exercise, feeding and transferring him, for example in and out of bed.
“We’re just at that point where we’re doing the most that we can as a family to provide the care for our son. He is 100 per cent dependent.”
She said both her and her husband Dave work. She’s a nurse and works during the day, and he works different shifts. She provides care in the evenings and weekends, but an overnight worker is required.
The cut to her son’s self-managed care followed an annual funding review in March. An appeal is already scheduled, but Murphy does not have high hopes and has heard of others who had funding cuts.
“The thing that bothers me the most is this is affecting really vulnerable people whom have limited care choices.
“There are large numbers of seniors and people with chronic medical conditions in Alberta that rely on this and nobody understands how quickly that can be taken away by our government making cuts through decisions that aren’t individually based or even best practice of care,” Murphy said.
Alberta Health Services responded to Murphy’s concerns.
“We understand the family’s frustration, and are happy to discuss their concerns with them at any time,” an AHS statement said.
AHS case managers work with clients to assist in meeting their self-care goals, the agency said.