You could split up, council tells wife of stroke sufferer

The wife of a man suffering after a stroke was shocked when council officials told her to consider leaving her husband, after she turned to them for support.

Karen Howe struggled to cope after her husband of more than 30 years started becoming increasingly aggressive in the aftermath of a stroke.

The mother of two asked social workers at Nottinghamshire County Council if they could provide a care home place for him, but officials refused her request and suggested that if her husband had become difficult to live with, she should think about divorcing him.


Mrs Howe said she found the advice “insulting”.

“One of the social workers told me I should either sell the house or divorce Norman in order to fund his care. I felt sick. It was insulting”, she said.

She added: “I love him, I want to care for him but he needs proper nursing care.”


A social work manager said in a letter to the couple’s solicitor, that Mrs Howe “does not have to continue to live with her husband if she no longer wishes”.

The manager added: “Mr and Mrs Howe may need to explore the usual processes for couples who no longer wish to remain living together, i.e. take account of savings and assets before separating.”

Tim Davies, the family’s solicitor, said: “My concern is that this gentleman is being refused nursing home care by the local authority because they would be forced to meet the costs.”


He said that Mr Howe’s stroke caused “a number of severe medical issues which have left him bedbound”, adding that he has also developed “severe challenging behaviour”.

But a letter to the solicitor from Greg Dunning, a social worker based at the King’s Mill Hospital, said their assessment “indicates that Mr Howe’s needs can be met in the community and a nursing home placement is not essential”.