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Background

Vera is my Mum; she was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s last year (2018). She has limited mobility and walks with the aid of a wheeled walking frame. She lives independently and has established routines for taking medication (Mum is diabetic and injects twice daily) etc.

She loves shopping, and goes weekly with her friend to the supermarket; she makes up every day, has her nails done, and has coffee mornings with her friends every other day.

The Incident

My mum slipped on her kitchen floor whilst batch cooking sausages (after all they were on a 2 for 1 offer!), resulting in a broken left arm and substantial bruising to her lower back. Mum stayed in hospital overnight and was discharged with a change to her medication, both in terms of what she is prescribed and when she has to take it, along with the recommendation to take two paracetamols every four hours for the day.

Care Requirement

Mum was visibly shaken from the fall, she became timid and lacked confidence and was also confused about her medication. I stayed with her for the first night; she got up to go to the toilet but then with one arm couldn’t get herself off the toilet. She was distressed at having to ask for help. The next day (fortunately I was there), 11 people came to see Mum.

It was like the animals going into to Noah’s ark…

We had 2 carers in the morning to wash and dress Mum, followed by 2 Physio workers (unclear why they came as Mum unable to move much at all?), a District Nurse came to take Mum’s blood pressure, Kerrie from the Enablement Team to complete an Assessment (presumably a Manager of the Carers), we then had 2 other carers arrive at lunch time, (I sat on the floor, as Mum only has 4 chairs and no-one had left!), and then 2 carers came late afternoon and then the Doctor came and took her blood pressure again. I was exhausted, never mind Mum!

For anyone this was significant in terms of change to routine but for someone aged 86, frail, confused and just out of hospital it was life changing. My Mum used to sort out her tablets for the day and take them all at once in the morning. She was now provided with a blister pack with tablets (different ones) to take four times a day. For a week my Mum needed prompting to take her tablets and to reassure her that they were hers as they looked different and were presented differently.

My Mum also received a letter in week 2 following her fall, to say that her care package would be ending in a week’s time as there was no re-ablement work that the team could do for her. It stated that she would have to find private carers and then when her arm was better to contact the team to have re-ablement reinstated.

I was confused by this as the reason my Mum needed carers was because she had broken her arm, I was hoping that she’d be able to do things for herself again when it was mended. This required me contacting the manager’s manager who explained that the crisis team pick up on the case first then hand over to the enablement team, who then hand over to private carers and who then hand over to the enablement team again. She added that there had been a case conference to discuss my Mum’s case, and this was the collective decision. I asked how they’d been a case conference without my Mum or a representative being present but was told this was normal practice.

Hurdles

I explained about my Mum’s dementia and that all these changes would be detrimental to her and they said they’d wait to make a decision until after my Mum had attended her fracture clinic appointment in a week’s time. I then spent 2 hours trying to get through to the Fracture Clinic to find out when my Mum’s appointment would be to be told that her case hadn’t been reviewed as yet and to call back in three days time. I spent another hour being ping-ponged between various people before getting a date which was after the deadline for the re-ablement service ending.

I then contacted the re-ablement team’s manager again to relay this and thankfully they reviewed their decision and decided to keep the carers with my Mum until the end of August. I am sure they’ll be other hurdles to overcome but my Mum is fortunate because she has someone who is able to advocate for her, my concern is for those who do not.