Carers Group: 8/03/21

Spring is almost here.

Lockdown easing and visiting care homes

The government’s guidance state that from today (8th March) one carer should be able to visit the person they care for, in a care home.

A group carer had been identified, by her person’s care home, as a “designated visitor“. She understood she would need to have a lateral flow test and wear PPE when visiting.

In contrast, at a different care home, another carer had been told she needed to have: her first vaccination; lateral flow tests and a PCR test; and she would need to download an app to her smartphone so she could upload the results of her lateral flow tests. She would receive a ‘bundle’ and instructions for using the app. Pending the new arrangements, the “visiting room” was being used.

All care homes are trying to protect their residents, but getting the right safety balance is not easy.

Hospital

A member of our friendship Group joined this group for the first time. His wife had been admitted to hospital and, after some care, had been discharged. She was still not well so he phoned for an ambulance and she was readmitted. Over the last few days he has been trying to speak to a doctor to find ourt what is happening and what they plan to do. Unfortunately there is always a reason why the doctor cannot speak to him. Promises of ring-backs have not happened. The nurses report she is ok, but say nothing beyond that. He can’t see anyone to get an explanation and cannot visit his wife.

Tatiana suggested he talk to the nurse in change on the ward. Make sure they are aware of the unsafe discharge and that they make a note of what happened. Before she is discharged there should be a care plan in place (which may be different from the current one) and that social services in the hospital are involved.

Being stable

A regular carer was pleased to say his wife was more stable. Her drugs had been reduced, which was generally good news. Unfortunately, she was not sleeping, which meant he wasn’t sleeping. He will speak to the GP about a solution. On a very positive note – they are about to become grandparents.

The group suggested her mum get a mobile phone. This had been tried and she had mislaid three of them!

Spreading the load

A carer was still recovering from his experience with covid. His sister, who lives separately, had been visited by his daughter. Now the daughter had moved away and the caring duties returned fully to our member. He was managing, but finding it difficult.

Lewy bodies

“Lewy Bodies are clumps of protein that can form in the brain. When they build up, they can cause problems with the brain works. This may include: memory, movement, thinking skills, mood and behaviour.” People who have dementia with Lewy bodies can have visual hallucinations. Our member said her dad sometimes thought the people on the television were in his room and he would also talk to photographs. He was doing ok and the memory clinic aimed to get him into one of their cognitive stimulation groups – this will be an interesting challenge on Zoom! You can read more about dementia with Lewy Bodies here.

Carer care

One of the group told us about her struggle to cope with the issues in her life and particularly the change in her mum’s attitude towards her. Our member had decided she needed help, even though she believes she knows what to do to help herself. She knows she has made the right decision and the support was helping to put her in a better position.

Activity – it’s good for you

I did a short session on getting more active. While most of us know what we should be doing – there is often a disconnect between the theory and the practice.

Have goals and track you progress against the goals. This is useful for you and will provide evidence to others (for example if you need to involve your GP or hospital). Choose the things you like, but will also challenge you.

Things to do:

  • Yoga – it helps your mood and balance
  • Have your “Playlists for life” – very effective with managing moods
  • Exercise – with lockdown ending we need to be mobile and improve our general fitness
  • Reminisce – it works the memory and can help ease depression
  • Socialise (when you can) – raises the spirits and exercises the mind
  • Engage with nature – a quick way to feel better and do something useful (for example – watering plants)
  • Sit somewhere different – a change in perspective helps get us out of a rut

Try some of these.

Next meeting the 12th April.

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