Plea for alcoholic Sheffield mum to die at home

Beverley Pickorer,35, is currently a resident in Haythorne Place receiving end-of-life care for cirrhosis
Beverley Pickorer,35, is currently a resident in Haythorne Place receiving end-of-life care for cirrhosis
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This is the shocking effect of chronic alcohol abuse - as Sheffield mum Beverley Pickorer, aged 35, faces certain death from liver disease.

Wracked by epileptic seizures, her face ravaged, her teeth ruined, her skin paper-thin and jaundiced, this is the damage inflicted by years of heavy drinking.

Now her distraught partner Anthony Howard, 31, is pleading for her to be allowed to return home to Parson Cross to die, instead of spending her last days being nursed around the clock at Haythorne Place Care Home, in Shiregreen.

Anthony said Beverley has been drink-dependent for years - at her worst she was downing up to 24 cans of lager plus a bottle of perry in the morning, then visiting the pub, then drinking as many as 16 cans when she returned home.

Beverley has spent the last eight months receiving palliative care in the home, where most other residents are OAPs. Prior to her move she spent four months in hospital.

“I’ve been looking after my partner for five-and-a-half years, and she’s constantly been in and out of hospital with liver cirrhosis,” said Anthony.

“She’s the youngest person in this care home. All she can do every day now is stay in bed. The staff come and turn her every two hours.”

Anthony said Beverley’s drinking problems started in her early 20s, during a series of troubled relationships.

“When I met her I took her drinking as part of her - it’s something I got used to,” said Anthony.

“When she got up and had a can in her hand straightaway, I got immune to it. To her it was like having a cup of tea.”

He said Beverley had ‘four beautiful children’, now aged six to 15, all of whom have been taken into care because of their mum’s chaotic lifestyle.

“It’s tragic,” said Anthony. “We made an agreement that when she dies she would die in my arms at home, but the NHS has said it would be too expensive to care for her at home.

“They would have to pay for one carer and a nurse. She’s on a syringe driver to stop her having seizures.

“But Beverley wants to die at home. You can’t deny a person that.”

Matt McMullen, from the Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, said Beverley’s situation was ‘very sad’.

“Unfortunately it is not unheard of for someone of such a young age to be experiencing such severe health problems as a result of alcohol consumption,” said Mr McMullen, the service’s activities co-ordinator.

Kevin Clifford, chief nurse for NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, was unable to comment on individual patients, but said: “Whenever possible, the CCG looks to arrange care which meets the wishes of patients and their carers, as well as their care needs. However, in so doing, we have to consider the safest and most appropriate manner in which an individual’s needs can be met.

“It is always regrettable when we have to take a decision based on a patient’s safety which doesn’t meet the hopes of their family. But we work with the family to offer them a range of solutions, and endeavour to offer a care package that is in the best interests of the patient and agreeable to the family.”

According to NHS figures, between 2001 and 2009 there were 400 deaths per year in people aged up to 39 where alcoholic liver disease was the underlying cause.

“The bottom line is, good quality help is available in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, and the earlier someone can access that help the better,” Mr McMullen added.

For support or more information call SASS on 0114 258 7553, or Alcoholics Anonymous on 0845 769 7555.