Well after fruitless fighting of the “system” for years now I find myself in yet another heart-breaking situation.
I posted recently that my 103 year old mother (soon to be 104 in a few weeks) after 6 months of nearly continuous hospital stays broken only by a couple of returns to home for a few days had been discharged to assess to a nursing home. She has been under the care of Social Services since 2013 so they are well aware (but completely uncaring) of her history and financial circumstances. My mother has no property of her own and absolutely no assets apart from a very small amount in savings - well under the threshold. In their wisdom and desperate need to discharge her from hospital (the number of times I was told she was bed blocking was incredible) she was transferred to the most expensive nursing home in our town. Albeit that the only reason she remained in hospital so long was that they allowed her to choke 3 times (once so badly that she required Heimlich manoeuvre and acquired aspiration pneumonia) and became even more immobile because nobody bothered to get her out of bed citing staff shortages as the reason but not allowing anyone else to do it because of health and safety. Result she went in being able to move from bed to chair with a zimmer and came out totally immobile being moved with a hoist. The authorities absolutely knew at that time that there was no way ever that she could remain there as the particular home did not accept LA payments only and would require a top up of £600 - £800 per week. They also knew the outcome of the assessment would definitely be that she needed to be looked after in a nursing home in her own best interests.
Again with the efficiency that only Social Service can achieve it took them 4 months to assess, decide that she lacks capacity and also decide that she HAS to be moved to a cheaper home. I have no problem with the assessment, I fully believe that she needs the care of a nursing home now, she has very little mobility, cannot stand unaided or even sit herself up in bed, is incontinent, displays dementia tendencies (although only best known to those treating her they have always decided that she does not need a formal diagnosis).
My real gripe is that all along the “authorities” have been aware of the problems, aware of her situation mentally, medically and financially but still think it is OK to put her into a nursing home they know she will not be able to stay in permanently, not care at all that moving someone of her great age causes a huge impact on her physical and mental health and treating her like a pawn on a chessboard.
I have tried really hard to co-operate with all concerned, I try this because I have no POA as my mother (a very difficult woman) always refused to allow anyone to have POA so now decisions are taken for her by Social Services so I feel co-operation and collaboration with them should result in a better outcome but invariably my optimism is usually misguided. I turned down 2 nursing homes because of the appalling CQC reports and places themselves, agreed to the last one offered as we were getting to the stage of “well you need to agree to one otherwise we will have to place her where there is availability as we cannot pay for the current one any longer.” I visited the one she has been transferred to when I was really unwell myself to make sure everything would be OK. The rooms etc. I were shown bear little resemblance to the pokey hole my mother has been allocated which I believe is because she is socially funded and not able to pay a for herself. Now I have to try and persuade the home that giving an 103 year old woman a room where she cannot see the TV from her bed or the chair is probably not a good idea given that’s basically all she does now.
I would just like to know if any other carer has ever found themselves in this situation. My mum is not really medically unfit for a woman of her age, she has low level heart failure, arthritis etc. but no real acute illnesses and as I said before there is a complete disinterest in getting her diagnosed as having dementia formally. Every time I mention NHS CHC I am told that she does not qualify for assessment.
I am sure no matter how hard I push I will always be told that everything has been done correctly but surely morally the way the authorities have treated her is unforgivable - this is a woman who worked as a self employed person into her early 90s just so that she could put food on the table for herself and my father, they lived on state pension and a few allowances and nothing else (apart from family help of course). There is something so very very wrong with a system that allows this - I am not saying that she should be able to stay at the most expensive NH in the town at public expense but what I am saying is that there should be some joined-upness at the beginning of the process as in she has no assets so we need to discharge to assess to a home where she can stay if necessary. Not put her in equivalent of The Ritz for months and then cart her off to a much lesser establishment telling her that’s all she’s worth and she has to put up with it. To top it all off the communication between the two homes was appalling and when she arrived they did not have the appropriate equipment to move her and were unaware that she has a history of choking and falling out of bed even though I asked 5 days before she moved in if there was anything I needed to do to advise them of her circumstances etc. I was told - oh no we will do all that on the days she arrives. It is unbelievable the way out vulnerable old people are viewed and treated and absolutely no one cares as long as their box is ticked and they can move on to the next “problem”