Countdown begins…

So Thursday is “D-day”, when we move MIL to the care home of our choice (the nicest by far we’ve found).

Unfortunately I can’t get the day off work, so I won’t be there to witness the fallout (if any), though will be on hand in the evening to help OH recover.

The plan as it stands is for OH to take a full day’s leave, and in the morning go round with the suitcase I packed at the weekend (which included a number of teddies, trinkets, bowling trophies etc) and set out all nicely, so the room when introduced looks more homely and familiar.

Before introducing her to the room though. he will in the afternoon again take her for lunch in their restaurant bit, which I’ve been in and is really nice, and feed her a three course meal and glass of wine again -which last week she was oohing and ahhing about no end. She was shown the garden and patios afterwards as well, and thought they were lovely too.

Amazingly, she understood it was a care home, and that they were there to see it for her sake. She asked sensible questions, like who would pay (“the council Mum”) and whether she’d have a TV in her room – and seemed quite happy with it all.

That’s not to say to say shit won’t still hit the fan on D-day! The home is confident she will settle soon, on the basis of the assessment – but I’m still worried that if afraid or stressed for any reason she might get nasty at some point, particularly when she realises she can’t go outside beyond the garden… Hopefully they can get their appointed GP to drug her up to avoid any such episodes.

On a lighter note, got this in an email from our lovely care coordinator on the Mental Health team:

I would like to commend you in your caring, supportive approach with your mothers care. My work has been made easier with the support from you both. I would like to thank you both for being such an amazing family to MIL, and a pleasure to work with“.

There you go! Not quite so evil then as my posts and poems at times come across!

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Passing the test…

Amazingly, we have an assessment at our care home of choice tomorrow, with a view to moving MIL in on Monday!!!! Finances approved by SS and everything (at least for a temporary stay – will worry about the rest later, once she’s through the door).

All subject to said assessment, however. Could anyone please advise as to what care home assessments typically involve, or what questions tend to be asked…?

I.e. what would MIL have to do in order to fucking fuckity inadvertently blow it – and with it her best chance for a decent standard of living till she dies?

For info – it’s a really nice home, with a bar / restaurant / hairdressers etc. OH will be taking her out for lunch there, which should hopefully soften her up for questioning by the ‘nice lady who runs the hotel’ and wonders if she’d like a stay one day…

I’m more nervous than before all of my school / university / driving exams put together right now!

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

To those that have been following the last several years / months / weeks / days:

Dear Mr and Miss Merlot,

Apologies for the late response, in regards to your emails yesterday.

I can reassure you that we had a very lengthy discussion about [MIL] in our clinical meeting today.

As both myself and [colleague] agree [MIL] requires 24 hour residential care – in fact due to the high risks, this will be fast tracked. The multi-disciplinary team even considered urgent mental health assessment to be admitted onto the ward. However, this may been more distressing for [MIL].

I am now doing an urgent referral for chairs action, and a financial assessment for temporary placement. This means I am trying my best today, to complete all the paper work, and hopefully find her care home, to be placed. In this situation, she will be safe, and a care home will be supported by myself with a care plan identified how best to support her.

I am now starting all the paper work, we just finished our morning clinical meeting and will keep you both updated.

I hope this is reassuring,

Regards,

[Lady from Mental Health team]

Silently hyperventilating at my desk.

Can’t take this in.

What a volte-face, after the last six months of complete and utter SS intransigence!

Are they really saying that they were considering sectioning her with that “ward” comment…?!?!? Then things really must be bad (I’ve long since lost my perspective on what is normal these days…).

The MH team have truly been great – they finally got the referral (after us being in the “system” for six loooong months prior to that) two weeks ago, then straight away picked this up and just ran with it.

I get the distinct impression the NHS are annoyed at SS for not getting them involved with MIL’s case sooner, before we had all gone way past the point of no return in this regard.

Certainly the turn-around from SS ignoring us / not returning calls / hoping we’d just go away to MH team talking about immediate admittance and imminent transition into 24/7 care.

Not quite sure what this will mean for next steps / timelines, etc – hopefully will find out soon.

I really, really cannot take this in.

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Progress (and a wee bit of racism)

So we had the psychiatric assessment with the Mental Health team yesterday, which was a breath of fresh air – two ladies who clearly “got it”, listened, proposed alternatives to 24/7 care but agreed that none were really viable, and we’d gone past the point of no return in that regard. They stayed a good two hours listening to us air our concerns (i.e. moan!) and responding sensibly, which we were not expecting. Most impressed!

We did go up to see MIL, who predictably responded with indignation – and overt racism to the one lovely lady in a hijab (*shame and mortification*), who if she was upset at it at all, didn’t let it show… MIL a closet Islamophobe – who knew…???

It seems we’re all on the same page now as to what happens next – they will make a referral to the non-complex panel, which will then make a referral to the complex panel, which will then make yet another referral to the financial panel, and then hopefully we’re there.

That’s if none of the above said panels decides something else needs to be tried / done / another box ticked (which they invariably will – particularly at financial stage, I would guess), in which case it all goes back to the beginning again…

Still, a step forward in the right direction at the very least…

It’s a duck!!!!!

So the Mental Health team came back yesterday saying that – actually – MIL’s case is not going to panel, as we understood after their assessment of last week.

In fact, they need to do yet another assessment, this time from a psychiatric point of view on my MIL.

ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTF can possibly be left to assess??????

We’ve had I think 6 assessments done now in the last 3 months, plus stuck her in front of the doctor – just for the sake of rubber stamping that requirement too.

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and NHS, GP, SS, two care agencies, house manager and family all agree it’s a duck – why can’t you class it as a motherfucking duck!!!

The saving grace here is that the woman from the Mental Health team is really lovely, and actually responds to our communications instead of blatantly ignoring us in the hope we’ll just go away or conveniently die, like SS has done to date.

When we pushed back on the need for this, she explained:

The purpose of a psychiatric review and allocation of a member of the team is for support to yourselves, mother, minimise risks and try to ensure that any further plan or move will be appropriate for her needs.

Along with yourselves this will involve looking at what will be in your mother’s best interests and identifying the correct support and accommodation.”

So, it sounds like that is maybe a good thing and is moving in the right direction…?

I think….?

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“Panel”

Not “the” panel. Just “panel”.

Apparently, now a SS assessment and separate NHS mental health team have been done, both recommending urgent transition to residential care, “panel” now meet to discuss findings and finances.

Naturally, I asked about the process, steps, time frames, etc. Apparently:

SS can’t tell me which bodies are on “panel”.
SS can’t tell me when “panel” meets.
SS can’t tell me when MIL’s case will be reviewed.
SS can’t tell me what is needed from us for “panel” review.
Basically SS can’t tell me anything at all.

The operatives on the phone apparently “aren’t privy” to this information. The only things they can tell me is that family absolutely, definitively cannot attend “panel”. Silly question, of course.

Has anyone had any dealings with such a said “panel” before, and if so could they please shed any light on the above…?

Or is it just our particular Adult Services department who are this oblique??

Off to re-read some Kafka. Never in my uni days did I think his works would prove so apt!

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Oh FFS….

So just now had a call from the new care agency (the ones able to provide 10 hours a week – this is their third visit).

Now my MIL has been bitten by a dog, presumably for getting in its personal space and not recognising danger signs in its behaviour. Carer did witness this first hand, but “can’t dress a wound”, apparently. It’s bad and bleeding, we’re told. Not sure if A&E territory yet – OH has literally just headed out of the door with first aid kit.

MIL insists this never happened, and it was just her cat scratching her.

Selfishly, I am annoyed at yet another evening scuppered, another dinner cold… Even more selfishly, I’m ecstatic I have another “emergency” to flag up tomorrow to SS (have asked care agency to give their own direct account as well).

Awaiting advice from doctor brother on whether we need a tetanus jab – dog wasn’t a stray but a usually placid pet of one of the other residents, and MIL cornered it in a lift, apparently.

No wish to take any action against dog or owner – just want to get to the facts / risks of the matter.

And get her in a home ASAP!!!

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Hmmm…

Hmmm.

Spoke agan to the first response lady from SS, who did the emergency assessment last week and agreed that MIL needed 24/7 care.

She now seems to be saying something different from last week. Apparently that decision is not in fact final, and the action taken wasn’t to review available care homes in the interim, like I had thought.

What has happened is that the first response lady has written up her findings recommending 24/7 care and put MIL on a high priority allocation list, so we are now awaiting an allocated social worker, who will then review the recommendations and make a final call.

She wouldn’t give a time frame in any way as to when this would happen, other than “not to worry – it won’t be 6 months to a year away”, but did stress the case was priority. Either way, I highly doubt it would be in time to bag the place at the care home we had liked.

I honestly don’t know what to do now.

Does anyone have any experience on how long it takes to get an allocated social worker…? I am guessing it is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” question…

Feeling a little ‘two steps forward, one step back’ at the minute. And rather deflated.

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Interim update…

An update since last posting. We had taken yesterday off work anyway to make the most of the Bank Holiday weekend, so were able to get a fair bit done that otherwise we’d not have managed, had we been at work.

SS contacted the GP yesterday for an emergency appointment, which amazingly we were able to get. We both took MIL, who fretted endlessly in the waiting room – we’d coordinated with the receptionist so that we arrived not at the actual time of the appointment but only when the doctor was able to see us, so we only had to wait maybe 7 minutes. Suffice to say, it was a looooooong 7 minutes.

Doctor did the memory test and she failed all but one question (what time it was) miserably. Not sure what score that works out to? She was also extremely aggressive (verbally) towards both doctor and us – until now the doctor has been regarded as near godlike, so that’s an unexpected departure. We have been requested to get a urine sample and bring her back for bloods, but so far we’ve been having no joy with persuading her to part with her pee. Suggestions welcome in obtaining a sample! I will talk to the receptionist when the surgery reopens to discuss how to go about bloods – there is usually a long wait involved, and MIL would not cope with this. I don’t like to ask to jump the queue, but I’m hoping they will be able to suggest something sensible to avoid pain all round.

Then we had an assessment by a new care agency, who will be providing a much enhanced care package in the interim (current private care agency has no more availability, which is a massive shame – they have been absolute stars) – which again took half the day re-hashing the whole story from scratch.

And then today care home visits – we’ve found one we really like and has a vacancy, but SS will likely balk at, it being at the upper end of the range and price scale. OH is prepared to go deferred payment against their contribution, and really wants to get her in to this place – I just hope it’s not lost by the time SS get their act together when it comes to financial assessments, decision making, etc… Knowing what I know, I suspect that will be the case, and have encouraged OH to keep an open mind as to where she ends up, providing it’s not god-awful of course.

What I am more worried about is SS reversing their decision on the basis that things temporarily stabilise with enhanced support in place – even if it still means that MIL is at risk 22 hours of the day. Hopefully MIL will keep up her current non-cooperative stance, and negate any possible benefit – sounds awful I know, but the worse thing she could do right now for her own sake is have a sudden good run!!

Can SS change their mind like this? As in once they’ve “officially” said that someone needs 24/7 care, then that decision has to stick, or not…?

Anyhoo, that’s it from us at the moment – SS will call on Tuesday to see how far we’ve got and exchange feedback. Not quite the ideal Bank Holiday we had planned (we were supposed to be doing a load of DIY, but quite frankly screw that idea right now), but whatever gets things moving at this stage.

Can’t quite believe we’re even at this stage, to be honest – and am just so nervous about things backpeddling again, having come this far in the last few days. What a week can bring, hey…?

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Update on Emergency Assessment

RESULT!!!!!

And hoorah for the private care agency (PCA – abbreviation not agency name) – truly worth their weight in gold.

Sooooooo following on from PCA’s direct contact with SS and epic talking-to delivered, the emergency assessment happened today with Social Services with a member of the PCA present, who knows and understands MIL best, and was able to detail all the risks – including the drinking of candle wax (or possibly shampoo, on further inspection).

By all accounts, MIL flipped out; there was rotting chicken in the cupboard under the sink and off milk in the cupboard; she couldn’t work the oven; the flat stunk of cat litter and was dirty; the only edible food in the house was cornflakes; and MIL failed the capacity test miserably. In the end MIL started screaming in their faces and kicked them out.

So all in all, exactly what we needed to move things along at this stage – sad to say.

SS now fully agree that 24/7 care is required and are escalating this internally.

PCA have got the impression from some of the conversations that previous SW we were assigned (the god-awful one) is not on a/l but has left or is leaving, and SS is now volte-facing so hurriedly to make up for all her previous mistakes.

So it seems things are finally moving, and in the right direction at last. Apparently the aggression she displayed though means she has been put in the ‘challenging’ category, so any future home will have to be equipped to handle that too.

I know we have yet another long road ahead in finding / approving / financing etc wherever she moves to next, and this is just the phase of another chapter…

But right now, I’m so, so, sooooooo very very relieved. I’d say you wouldn’t believe how much, but I know you all do.

Thank you all for being there up to this point. I’ll check in once I know more.

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