One of my colleagues is not well at the moment and is unlikely to be back at work in a rush. So as is the norm, her work needed to be reallocated.
That’s how I found myself with a file for Mrs K. A woman who has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s type dementia. Through a series of ways and means (she likes going on to the seaside), she found herself in a hospital a few hundred miles out of London.
Much liasing with hospital wards and hospital social workers ensued and although I even suggested going to visit Mrs K the very suggestion was slightly ridiculed. I have to say though, just as I don’t like to place people in residential care homes that I haven’t seen, I also don’t like managing care for someone that I have never met.
Anyhow, when someone is in hospital they are well-placed for lots of reports to be written and for decisions to be made on those accounts.
The decision-making process was befuzzled by a couple of factors. Prior to Mrs K’s admission to hospital, she had not been in receipt of any care services. She was visited regularly by a care coordinator for the purpose really of trying to coax her into receipt of home care – but she had, to date, refused.
The reports from the hospital indicated, however, that she required dementia nursing care.
That’s quite a jump in a couple of weeks – by any standards – considering the hospital admission was for a chest infection.
After a period of delayed discharge payments when both boroughs were having some kind of argument about whose responsibility paying for an IMCA would be (personally, I dispute that she is unbefriended in any case – as there is a partner – but that’s a different argument for a different day (and perhaps an indication of institutional homophobia as her partner is female)) , we made a temporary interim care placement to a nursing home in London with a view of planning care from there. At least she is now somewhere that her family find it more easy to visit and, well, yes, I do too.
Having now visited her a couple of times and spoken to the residential home as well as her friends and partner, I am assured that we should, at least, try to move her home with a care package. After all, she states explicitly that that is what she wants and there is a good historical knowledge that she has always been incredibly attached to her home. She has a cat and a canary waiting for her too. Moving to residential care from an acute hospital admission is always heart-wrenching although sometimes unavoidable but there is a grief process for a familiar place and setting that is often disregarded when such moves are made.
Now though, I have a race against time though having been allocated what I consider to be not-enough-time to arrange a safe move home. Not least because (as I discovered on visiting yesterday) the home needs a rather thorough deep clean before we’d be able to put a service in.
But as always with these time-limited issues (and this is something I have grown better at with experience), I phrased a humble email to the respective manager explaining risk and safe return home and how much preferable to our ethos (and to the council’s bank balance) a return home would be as opposed to a permanent nursing placement (which I suspect was expected).
I most humbly stated I was doing all that I possibly could to speed up and facilitate a move (which is true – I’m just away on training for three days). I expect to follow up with another humble and apologetic email next week updating what I have achieved in the additional time and why I need an extra extension.
I have to say though, these kinds of situations – moving someone home against the expectations – give me a considerable amount of satisfaction.