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Great-grandmother from Dover in 'agonising pain' after visits dwindle due to nurse shortage

A great-grandmother left in “agonising pain” has told how dwindling nurse visits have “robbed me of my life”.

Maureen Franciosi says her deteriorating health has rendered her isolated inside her Dover home over the past four years.

Maureen Franciosi, 78, of Dover
Maureen Franciosi, 78, of Dover

The 78-year-old would embark on an array of hobbies to keep her body active and mind busy, with regular district nurse visits to help manage her pain and wounds.

But Ms Franciosi says that since the frequency of visits has been slashed, her pain has intensified and her pastimes snatched away.

She said: “Sometimes the pain is so unbearable now all I can do is cry.

“I used to get visits twice every day, in the morning and early evening, to dress the open wounds on my legs.

“But now I only get one visit a day, which means my bandages become soiled and there isn’t anyone who can help me.

“I can’t do anything now, I’ve just been forgotten and it has stripped my dignity away.”

Ms Franciosi, who worked on the Sealink cross-Channel ferries for 17 years, claims staff at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust have blamed the reduction on waning staffing levels.

The former Archers Court School student claims she, and others like her, have been "forgotten".

“Whenever I do get to speak with someone, and this has happened many times, they just say they don’t have the nurses any more to help me.

“I know it sounds silly but it just feels like I’ve been forgotten, all my friends and family have either died or moved away.”

Ms Franciosi suffers from cellulitis, a condition which requires “good wound care and hygiene” to prevent the infection spreading and potentially becoming dangerous, according to the NHS website.

But despite the illness and other healthcare complications causing Ms Franciosi severe pain, she was previously able to while away the hours gardening, cooking and sewing.

She says that with fewer nurse visits, her bandages soon become ineffective, rendering any physical movement impossible.

“I have carers who come around and help, bless them, they’re incredible, but they’re not trained to treat wounds.

“I can’t even go in the garden any more, I can’t stand up to cook, I can’t even use the pedal on my sewing machine.

"The pain is agonising and I feel like I have been robbed of my life because there isn't enough staff."

Asked what changes need to be made, Ms Franciosi, of Farthingloe Road, said: “I just want things to go back to how they used to be before all of this, before Christmas, when they had enough nurses.

“I want to have my life back and not feel like it’s passing me by.”

Mercia Spare, chief nurse at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We pride ourselves on providing safe and effective care to all our patients. The frequency of home visits is delivered on the basis of the individual’s clinical need and balanced across the needs of all patients on our caseload.

"The national shortage of nurses in the NHS is widely known and affects all organisations from time to time, including KCHFT. Our teams work tirelessly to go above and beyond clinical need for our patients but in balancing the needs of all patients this is sometimes not possible.”

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