Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The Big Meeting

A couple of weeks ago, a meeting was set up to discuss concerns about my nan, and the needs that she has. Nan insisted on being present at that meeting.

Myself, my parents, and some of my uncles were also present. Luckily, we had time to cover one topic out of earshot of my nan. This topic was her mental health and capacity.

Over the past year or so, some family members and I have started to notice some changes in Nan's personality, memory, mood, and ability to process things. She seems very depressed as well as argumentative and verbally aggressive at times. She is finding it hard to follow conversations and often forgets things or mixes things up. She has trouble organising her medication. She does not cope well with bright lights or any kind of noise, and often complains of her head thumping. She doesn't seem to realise how much help she needs either. There's probably more that I can't think of right now, but these signs and symptoms are definitely worsening.

I explained all of this to the staff present (namely a doctor, an occupational therapist, a social worker, and a discharge nurse) and the doctor said he would arrange for Nan to have a cognitive assessment. I think the nurses involved in her care had noticed certain things themselves.

Straight after this, my nan came into the room. She basically lectured us on speaking about her behind her back. I wasn't sure what to say to this as I feel conflicted about it. I don't like to speak about people behind their back, but there are important things to be said that might not have been put across properly if Nan had been there. She tends to speak over people and doesn't allow them to finish what they say, especially if she disagrees with it. We needed to be able to voice some of our concerns in a way that would allow the hospital staff to understand.

Once Nan had (finally) sat down, other concerns were voiced by the present members of family. These included her struggles with sleeping in bed (she sleeps in her recliner chair as she cannot lift her legs to get into bed), as well as struggles organising medication, needing night visits from carers (but these not being available), problems with incontinence, problems controlling her type 2 diabetes, the help she needs to shower, and other help she may need since having a major operation (a full hip replacement).

Naturally, my nan disputed a lot of things and we had to explain to her why we had these concerns. The discharge nurse, occupational therapist, and social worker tried their best to explain too. The occupational therapist had a list of equipment she could order to make Nan's life a little easier. This included a shower chair with a back, a commode in her bedroom, a grabber (as she is not allowed to bend from the hip more than 90 degrees), a perching stool, a key safe, and equipment to help her lift her legs. Nan rejected a lot of this equipment, saying she didn't need it, but she did agree to the shower chair, perching stool for the kitchen, and key safe.

The next topic was help with care. The occupational therapist explained that Nan would have visits 4 times a day, for up to 6 weeks, from the Enablement Team. This is a team of carers who would observe and encourage Nan to do what she can for herself, and help her with things she cannot do. This help is free, and is designed to rehabilitate Nan so that she is able (with the help of carers) to look after herself in the community. Nan didn't see the point in this, as she believed the carers at her care home would do everything whenever she asked. This is not the case however, as the care home she lives in is vastly understaffed, and does not provide night visits. The Enablement Team unfortunately do not offer night care either, so would see my nan first in the morning.

Once everything had been agreed and clarified, the meeting came to an end. The family were left for a few minutes, to discuss things amongst ourselves, and this included explaining things to Nan again. She seemed to accept what was going to happen, if reluctantly.

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Yesterday, Nan was discharged from hospital, and brought home by hospital transport. We were told the transport would arrive at 12, and it'd be around 12.30 that she would be home. What actually happened was the transport arrived at 1, and dropped Nan home around 3! My dad was left waiting 3 hours to let the transport staff (and my nan) in the flat. Luckily, she'd had lunch before being discharged, so didn't complain about that. The Enablement Team arrived a couple of hours after that. I am waiting to hear how she is getting on with this team, so I will keep you posted!

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