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Care home not communicating

skaface

Registered User
Jul 18, 2011
109
0
Ramsgate
Hi - I've not been on here for some years. I didn't think I'd need to once mum went into the care home in 2016.

In general both my sister and I are very happy with the care that our mum gets in the home, but the home is very bad at communicating stuff to us, especially where it concerns mum's health. We both have LPA for finances, and for health and welfare, and as you probably know, we have to report back to the Office of the Public Guardian every year (my sister does this). They are quick enough to communicate if it concerns money though.

My sister and I agreed that she would handle all the finances and I would deal with the health and welfare stuff. I live about a mile from the care home and my sister lives about 250 miles away. My sister was recently in a video meeting regarding continuing care for mum, which was not granted, and during this meeting things about mum's health were discussed that neither of we siblings was aware of - for example it came out that mum has kidney disease and we didn't know it.

When I was able to go to visit mum, the last time I noticed a dressing on her leg and on questioning the carer it seems she has a haematoma and is under the care of the District Nurse. I only found out about this because I asked about the dressing.

I don't expect a phone call every time they need to put a plaster on say, a cut finger, but kidney disease? During my last talk with the OPG regarding DoLS I mentioned that I wasn't happy with the level of communication and my contact in the OPG passed this on to the home - I then got a voice message from the Registered Manager saying she was 'sorry that I felt that way,' no acknowledgement that perhaps things could be done a little better in communicating things to families.

Any ideas how I can get the care home to communicate better, though if they can't let us know when mum's been diagnosed with kidney disease, what hope have we got? I've already tried the 'we need to know because we have to report to the OPG' without success.
 

Louise7

Volunteer Host
Mar 25, 2016
2,889
0
Hello @skaface that must be very difficult for you and I'm not sure that there's an easy solution. Communication with my mum's care home has been pretty poor since they stopped family visiting, and understandably staff have been very busy during the pandemic, but it doesn't excuse them not communicating with you about major health related issues. You mention needing to report to the OPG - I'm assuming that you have guardianship rather than LPA? Could you maybe approach the manager and request a care plan review, and then include in the plan that family must be contacted in respect of any health issues (other than minor ones)? It may not help to improve communication much but it might make the staff more aware that they need to do this, and hopefully you will be able to start visiting your mum again soon so that you can check on how she is and also speak face to face with the staff.
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
707
0
I am also slightly unhappy with communication from Mums care home. It can be very hard to get through on the phone although once I speak to someone, they are happy to chat about how mum is. But I seem to be the one asking the questions, I found out in such a conversation that mum had been prescribed with a sedative.

However, I do have a connection to her GP as she has spoken to me a few times about various health issues since mum moved to the care home. I now leave a message at the doctors practice and the GP will phone me back.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,249
0
High Peak
I think many of us have experienced the same - it used to drive me mad. I actually had the opposite issue with the DoLS form - it said mum had chronic kidney disease but she hadn't any kidney problems at all!

There are a lot of changes planned for the social care system (and about flippin' time!) but one thing I'd really like to see included is an improvement in communication with relatives. My suggestion would be a weekly phone call (or more often when necessary) to a nominated relative. I always felt when I phoned up that I was an annoyance and of course when someone answers the phone, you never know how busy they are, etc, so it's difficult. If the CH phoned you it would be so much better.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,261
0
Scotland
CKD or chronic kidney disease is very common with elderly people. Everything depends on what level she’s got. Mostly it is not treated.
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
548
0
Mid Lincs
I had this with a report on my OH when he was first diagnosed. It said he had Kidney disease stage 3-4? (TBH I can't remember). I was horrified but when I question it, it appears that something had shown up on a blood test that indicated they weren't functioning as well as they would do if he was 30 but it was nothing to worry about.
 

Primrose19

Registered User
Nov 27, 2016
66
0
I was going to say what @marionq said but also to agree with @Jaded'n'faded about improved communication with care homes. Even pre-pandemic, when I visited regularly, it was lucky to get details about mum, they usually said she was fine. They did six month reviews but that hasn't happened for a year and as Jaded said, when you ring you feel like it is an annoyance. Mind you, when the CH does phone, it has been about serious things except the last one which was can she have the vaccine!
 

MrsV

Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
210
0
Northamptonshire
Hi - I've not been on here for some years. I didn't think I'd need to once mum went into the care home in 2016.

In general both my sister and I are very happy with the care that our mum gets in the home, but the home is very bad at communicating stuff to us, especially where it concerns mum's health. We both have LPA for finances, and for health and welfare, and as you probably know, we have to report back to the Office of the Public Guardian every year (my sister does this). They are quick enough to communicate if it concerns money though.

My sister and I agreed that she would handle all the finances and I would deal with the health and welfare stuff. I live about a mile from the care home and my sister lives about 250 miles away. My sister was recently in a video meeting regarding continuing care for mum, which was not granted, and during this meeting things about mum's health were discussed that neither of we siblings was aware of - for example it came out that mum has kidney disease and we didn't know it.

When I was able to go to visit mum, the last time I noticed a dressing on her leg and on questioning the carer it seems she has a haematoma and is under the care of the District Nurse. I only found out about this because I asked about the dressing.

I don't expect a phone call every time they need to put a plaster on say, a cut finger, but kidney disease? During my last talk with the OPG regarding DoLS I mentioned that I wasn't happy with the level of communication and my contact in the OPG passed this on to the home - I then got a voice message from the Registered Manager saying she was 'sorry that I felt that way,' no acknowledgement that perhaps things could be done a little better in communicating things to families.

Any ideas how I can get the care home to communicate better, though if they can't let us know when mum's been diagnosed with kidney disease, what hope have we got? I've already tried the 'we need to know because we have to report to the OPG' without success.
Hello Skaface,
I'd contact CQC and let them know, they are obliged to act. A diagnosis of Kidney Disease is something you should've been told about immediately. For a start its an underlying condition you knew nothing about, and if asked at say a hospital visit you would've said No, she doesn't have it. Good luck
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
707
0
Re communication from a care home, I think we should have regular meetings similar to Parent Evenings for our children. It would be a chance to share information or concerns at a time when there are no distractions and actions could be agreed.
 

MrsV

Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
210
0
Northamptonshire
Re communication from a care home, I think we should have regular meetings similar to Parent Evenings for our children. It would be a chance to share information or concerns at a time when there are no distractions and actions could be agreed.
Hi Lynmax,
Absolutely agree. Every time I ring my Mum's CH they answer the phone and sound rushed off their feet, and say 'Yes, she's fine, she's fine' without checking or asking any of the other member of the care team. We cant ring or do video calls with Mum as she doesn't understand it and walks away looking for where the voice is coming from. Plus at previous window visits she doesn't know who we are and walks off. which is so upsetting.
 

love.dad.but..

Registered User
Jan 16, 2014
4,771
0
Kent
On the kidney point...most elderly folk will have some degree of reduced kidney function as that can be common for some as we age. My elderly father had his picked up in his annual blood test as I had with mine also, am in mid 60s. The communication problem is tricky to resolve in these covid excuse times
 

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