How to get an urgent needs assessment

Hi everyone
My immediate crisis is over now but I am asking this so I will be better prepared if/when it happens again.

My mum is 86, registered blind (no central vision), lives alone with help from me (shopping, banking etc) and twice-weekly visits from a cleaner whom she pays for herself. She has a variety of health conditions and is increasingly vague and forgetful, but she basically manages to survive through sheer force of will, being fiercely independent and determined to continue in her own home.

Last week we had a bit of a desperate situation as for the first time she became doubly incontinent. She is back to normal now owing to some amazing medical care but the situation is dynamic and could revert any time. So I want to be prepared.

Basically mum cannot manage incontinence at all as her visual impairment means she can’t see when things are soiled. To me this seems extremely dangerous. Last week I was going round every morning and finding her sheets, bathroom, toilets all soiled and she herself in need of constant cleaning and changing. I called Social Services and explained the situation and that it was (a) dangerous and (b) way beyond what I could cope with. I should add that I don’t claim Carers Allowance and am not formally caring for mum; I just help out a bit as far as I can but that doesn’t extend to changing her every hour or cleaning her house and bedding every morning. The response I got from Soc Services was that they ‘are not set up to respond quickly’ and basically mum would have to wait weeks just for an assessment! I can’t believe they are allowed to do this. What if mum had no one? What if it was not the dutiful daughter calling up but a concerned neighbour? Do they seriously expect a blind person to live in their own excrement for weeks? I know for a fact that they can and do respond quickly on occasion (having called them for someone else once and getting same-day response). But what is the magic word you have to say to get this door to open?

I should add that mum is entitled to help with her care as she has very little in the way of savings (well below the threshold) and receives Pension Credit Guarantee.

Thanks very much for any advice. I am terrified of this situation returning and not being prepared.

Unless you can provide evidence it’s a medical emergency or a safe guarding problem. Then is a waiting game.

Hi Justine.

You’ll need a little clout behind you to fast forward a Needs assessment … many LAs have a waiting list several months long.

I recommend making contact with AGE UK :

The Care Needs Assessment Explained | Age UK

Not only could they add their weight , they can review your mother’s care options with you.

AGE UK are ideally placed to do just that.

A guide to outside care support … what’s available and who supplies it :

Thanks everyone. I will definitely contact Age UK next time (well, I hope there isn’t one but if there is). I have also been thinking that going through the Visual Impairment people (ROVIs) might be best since mum’s difficulties are really a result of her not being able to see. If she could see I think she would more or less have managed. I also suspect getting someone other than an involved daughter to call is probably best. And it seems to me that it is arguably a safeguarding issue in that mum’s lack of vision means that she is basically at risk of self-neglect through being unable to maintain her own hygiene.

It’s helpful to have thought through all these angles with your help. Hopefully next time I will be better placed to deal with things.

Thanks again!

Dial 999. Explain that SD have refused an urgent assessment although they are required to have emergency carers available at short notice. Make it clear,very clear, that you do not live with mum and cannot care for her.

They will then visit, assess, and kick SSD into action hopefully.

Thanks Bowlingbun! I will keep that one up my sleeve for total desperation time. Great to have the nuclear button, maybe even just to mention it to the SS if necessary.

Mum NEEDS more care than she is currently getting. Either at home, or residential care, or hospital. Doing nothing isn’t an option. Take photos when the next crisis happens, don’t touch ANYTHING. I know that’s terrible, but it’s the only way now.