Carers Group: 14/06/21

A very warm evening. We managed a chat, without getting overheated.

A continuing caring role

A carer returned to the group after a short break. Sadly, her mother had passed away – now she was spending more time caring for her step-dad. As sometimes happens, she has taking on a role that might have been shared with other close relatives. For their own reasons those relatives are not playing a very active caring role. Our member had arranged a trip out for her step dad and was hoping it all went well.

Who takes responsibility?

In a continuing saga, a carer told us the care home she was dealing with would tell her that action had been taken, when it had not. The person she cares for had seemed unwell, eventually the care home reported that she had been taken to the local hospital. The hospital then said that they had found several things wrong with the person in care. Why the care home did not take action earlier is unclear.

When the carer visited the hospital, she noticed that several rings had gone missing. In due course she discovered that the care home had removed them before the trip to the hospital, but not mentioned this during several discussions.

Janet and Tatiana advised our member to ask the home when they had noticed the health issues. The hospital said they had been there for some time. The carer should speak to the care home manager and, if not happy, speak to the funding council.

Food and funding

Our member who cares for someone living on their own, is concerned that she is not preparing and eating meals. When visiting our member she eats heartily, but there is little evidence of food in her home. He intend to monitor the situation more closely and suggest options for simple meal – such as frozen dinners and having food delivered (such as Wiltshire Farm Foods). He may also consider suggesting having some visiting carers.

He has also found that a council benefit has stopped. As he has Lasting Power of Attorney, he is looking at the best way to manage correspondence, without upsetting the person he cares for.

What is true?

A carer visits her husband in a care home. He sits in a chair, is unresponsive and very sleepy. To get him standing takes a long tome and several people to help. The care home say that he is able to do things for himself and is eating. He now has a problem with his foot which is getting progressively worse. In the short time he has been in the care home he has required several visits to hospital. He was recently taken to hospital for a blood test (why couldn’t this be done in the home?)

Tatiana recommended that our carer speak to the podiatrist and arrange a meeting with the care home manager. Our carer should have been involved in monthly care plan reviews (she had not).

Visits to the loo

What happens when you forget what to do when you visit the toilet? A carer said he would accompany his wife to the loo 20-30 time a day, with varying success. He said he was managing, but was a little concerned as he had booked a couple of short (much needed) breaks for himself. There would be a live-in carer, but they would find the loo regime a challenge.

Dementia treatments

The latest report on our member’s dad who has Dementia with Lewy Bodies is quite positive. The memory clinic has (after a year’s wait) prescribed some medication and are looking to up the dosage as he becomes used to it. His mood has also improved, as he is now able to go and visit family members.

The “bad guy”

When you are living with someone you care for, you are sometimes the subject of their anger/mood swings. Our member’s mum has taken to having a nap in the afternoon, when she wakes-up, she is confused. This confusing now often leads to accusations of “wrong doing”. For example – mum tend to have a well stocked fridge and freezer, but some items will become out of date. The daughter has to carefully take these away and dispose of them without mum becoming upset that food is being taken.

Our member reports that she is managing quite well and this has been helped by continuing counselling and Cognative Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Forgetting to drink

Dehydration can cause many problems. Our carer reported that her husband made his own drinks and had drinks provided for him, however, he often forgot to drink them. Dehydration had caused issues which led to hospitalisation in the past and our carer was doing her best to ensure her husband drank enough – especially in the how weather.

Vaccinating all care home staff

The government recently announced: “People working in CQC-registered care homes will need to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated with both doses”.

Whatever your views on this, it puts care homes under further pressure. Currently, care home costs vary, but are a real burden on those who have to pay (more information on costs from ‘Which’ here). Care homes tend to pay low wages and staff have very difficult jobs (here is an article from The Guardian). Covid has put an enormous strain on this sector (see a BBC article here).

Something needs to be done. The Prime Minister has made promises.

I have also benefited from CBT, thanks to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS trust.

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