Tragedy and Responsibility


This tragic story about a man with learning disabilities and his mother who were both found dead left me with a couple of thoughts.

Obviously it is an enormous tragedy and apart from speculation there are few facts available.

My thought though was on the comment that he had stopped going to his day centre about a year ago and this had not been picked up by Social Workers or at least not followed up.

Firstly, it must be awful to carry any kind of feeling of responsibility in those circumstances and there will always be things that one can have wished to have done retrospectively.

To me, it highlights the importance of regular reviews of carers, even if, and especially if no paid packages of care are involved. Often the focus from the councils is on reviewing to save money or to ensure that money is appropriately spent – but it is the carers without services who do, perhaps, need the most support.

Judging from media reports, this man needed considerable support and although it is an individual case and not everyone can know the circumstances – I think it paints a tragic but exceptionally important picture of the role and support that must be offered to carers.

I remember from some of my own work, some of more satisfying moments have been being able to provide carers support. Sometimes it is just a matter of going in and talking to someone who is taking a lot on themselves because they don’t want to discharge any kind of responsibility for caring for their loved one. But sometimes, it is about preventing burn-out and checking that there is no abuse of vulnerable adults.

All I can say, and say with sadness, is that I’m glad I’m not in the Redditch Learning Disabilities Team at the moment.