Thursday, 1 March 2018

Family, Social Services, and a Whole Load of Stress

I'm sorry for my silence recently! I've had a lot going on, mainly with family and illness. I will try to explain this in a somewhat coherent manner.

A couple of months ago, my Nan went into hospital for a total hip replacement operation. She has other issues, such as Arthritis all over (we're not sure which type), a worn out total replacement on her other hip, Type 2 Diabetes, double incontinence, memory problems and could potentially have the onset of Dementia. The nurse at the hospital originally said Nan would be in for 7 days, but this was before all the other issues were noted.

The operation went as planned, but due to these other issues, she is still in hospital. As well as all of this, she contracted Norovirus, so has had to stay in another 2 weeks regardless. Despite extra infection control measures, visiting members of the family (including myself and my parents) caught Norovirus too! Because of this, we've not been able to visit Nan for over a week, which is a worry as she does not cope well by herself. She doesn't mix well with other patients and will only "socialise" (to use the word very loosely) with family members.

Another issue is the care home she lives in. It does not have an adjustable bed, so Nan spends 24 hours a day in her adjustable chair (bought by herself years ago). She sleeps in that chair, badly, and due to such poor mobility, is almost completely sedentary.

She has carers in, but she has cut their hours down to the bone, as she thinks struggling on her own (even with her risk of falls) is acceptable. The care she does get is not adequate in the slightest. Before she went into hospital, she was getting care for 15-30 minutes in the morning; which mainly consisted of a very quick wash from her chair. She did have carers come to take her laundry now and again, but clothes etc often came back still dirty. It appears she is also paying for more care than she is actually receiving.

The care home itself is vastly understaffed. At night, you are lucky to get two care assistants and in the daytime there are often only two carers covering the whole home (which has quite a few flats as well as bungalows attached to the home). Nan needs two carers to help her to shower, but the home is unable to provide this, so Nan's hygiene is unfortunately quite poor.

Onto Social Services! Well, they have been involved to assess Nan's needs and whether the care home is suitable for her anymore. My family have agreed that it is now a nursing home that Nan needs because of the amount of personal help she requires. Dad has been speaking to a social worker, but despite all of our concerns, the social worker is under the impression that the care home will be able to provide the levels of care required. This is something we struggle to believe but it looks as if we'll have to trust the care home to do this, and if it is not done then we are going to have to find a nursing home for Nan.

In the meantime, next week there will be a meeting with the care home manager and an occupational therapist (as far as we're aware?) at Nan's flat, to see what other equipment she needs before being discharged. There will also be a bigger meeting with whichever relatives are available, at the hospital, to come to an agreement as to what Nan needs and whether she will be ready to be discharged soon.
One of my uncles does have the legal right to invoke Power of Attorney, so we need to discuss whether this is something that needs to be done yet.

We want her to be happy, but we also want her to be safe. It is very difficult and has caused arguments as Nan is not good with change and is very home sick. I will do another post once everything is finalised.

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