How do I get a new needs assessment done?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Chrissie B, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Hi all,

    I asked the Social Services some time ago about getting a needs assessment done. They said they would only do a needs assessment once my mother's capital went under the capital treshold, but to feel free to contact them after my mother dropped below the capital threshold. My mother doesn't own the house she lives in, and her only incomes were lowest state pension and higher rate attendance allowance. I wrote to Social Services and asked about getting a needs assessment done as soon as my mother's savings went below the capital threshold, knowing that they like to take as much time as possible to get this done. Whilst waiting for a reply I applied for pension credit for my mother, and explained that to keep my mother's full time care going I needed to apply for pension credit to help towards it. Pension credit asked for bank statements going back 6 months, my mother has a few bank accounts, I don't like to leave too much in one account, ever. I sent the bank account statements by email, and they got back and not only agreed she was entitled to pension credit, but that they were willing to backdate from 3months previously, which really did help a lot.
    So when Social services asked forthe past 6 months of bank statements, I thought that this would be a doddle, just sent the exact same statements over to them as I had to the Pension Office.

    Social Services agreed to send me both a financial assessment and a needs assessment and since I work full time as a shop assistant, I had to swap my days off in order to have a day that would suit Social Services, they don't seem to have any time to do these things on Fridays or Saturdays or Sundays. We arranged a time that they would agree to and I managed to get by begging and pleading with my manager to change the rota just to suit them. I had sent the paperwork off to Social Services and managed to get an appointment for 2 weeks later to give them time to look through the bank statements. Just before they were supposed to come they sent an email stating that they had looked through the bank statments and had found that my mother's capital was £24,698.12 which of course is over the capital threshold, and they also stated that because of this, they had cancelled both my mothers financial assessment and her needs assessment. They also complained that I had used £3000 over 6 months out of my mother's money and wanted me to explain where all that money had gone to. I wrote back to that one and told them I would have to be a genius to have managed on £3000 over 6 months and they must have read all those bank statements incorrectly as well.

    I'm pretty good and knowing what my mother's financial situation is, and therefore knew they had made some kind of mistake. I asked them for their figures, which to be fair they sent to me. I looked over where they had picked their figures found and discovered 2 major mistakes they had made. Unfortunately one of my mother's banks puts the newest figures at the top of the page and the oldest figures at the bottom of the page and my mother has 2 accounts with that one. I could then see that when the benefits officer reads the statements she reads the bottom line of the statement rather than the top which gives the balance. Looking at it further, this caused even more confusion because one of the statements with her main expenses is on a pdf file, and this was over 2 pages because of all the transactions, and it was obvious to me that she took the balance of the bottom of page one, failing to see the carer and the monthly daycare payout 2 days later. I pointed this out to them, and asked when they could now arrange a needs assessment since my mother by now urgently needs one, or at least I could do with some advice.

    The case was then transferred over to the benefits officer manager, who stated after a week that she would need to see more bank statements from 12 months ago, which she would look over to see if my mother is entitled to have a needs assessment, and pointed out that she would be away for 11 days and wouldn't be able to look at them until she got back. I sent this out to her before she got back to the office and she left it a week until she received another email asking if the new information meant that I could now get a needs assessment for my mother, and then she asked for some of the payments to be explained, such as why my mother was paying money out to the HMRC and if this was going to continue, she also queried a plumbing bill, which she asked if this was a carer and if this was a weekly amount. I answered all her questions and a week later she sent out more questions, such as why 2 of the payments of money was coming out of one my mother's bank accounts, to which I had to reply that they were incoming payments since that's what FPI stands for, and she may have guessed this if she had looked at the previous balance before the payment went in as the balance went up by the exact amount of money as she was asking about. It is now yet another week later and I am now waiting for the next round of questions, which will possibly show yet again that the benefits manager is equally unable to read bank statements.

    In the meanwhile my mother's carer and I have transferred my mother's bedroom into a bedroom/living area, since there has been 2 occasions we were unable to get my mother to stand up after sitting down, and we had to get an ambulance out to help, who whisked her away to hospital. Took xrays, the first hospital found nothing wrong with the xrays, and were going to send her back the next day as they had no transport, sometime after midnight however, I suspect because my mother woke up in the night and screamed out, they decided she had fracture and moved her to a small hospital over an hour away. Another problem with my mother is that she now finds it really difficult to get into or out of a car, and it can take up to an hour of struggling and I don't know who cries the most during this time, her or me, so later in the day when the little hospital managed to get a doctor to come down and have a look at her, so she could come home, it was apparently a fracture that would mend on its own given enough pain killers it took over an hour for us to get my mother into her carer's car. My mother was desperate to come home, the hospital seemed quite relieved that she was going, she had already in her small time there managed set one of the nurses into tears. The next hospital she went into a few days later didn't find any sign of a fracture, so I reckon for a 96 year old, she must have remarkable mending ability.

    Every day it becomes more difficult to get my mother to stand up from bed and to go to bed after sitting on her armchair, she tries to get up, and she tries really hard, but somehow her legs seem to be seizing up, and as my mother is somewhat on the large size, she's too heavy to move if she is physically or mentally unable to move her legs, and her arms are getting weaker so when we hold on to her and try to get her to pull up, she screams in pain. The carer reckons a hoist might help, and maybe something she can stand on to help twizzle her round, but I would much rather get some kind of professional advice on this, rather than randomly buy experimental items of ebay and endanger my mother. I thought that if the social services could send someone out to do a needs test, than they could advise me on the safest equipment to buy and to let me know if they feel that her carer and myself could perhaps have some help in learning how to use the equipment, but until Social Services can learn how to read bank statements they refuse to send someone to do a needs assessment.

    Now that my mother has to often be fed, she finds holding a spoon too taxing, though she's pretty good at finger food snacking, we always make sure she has fresh fruit cut up for her in front of her, she needs changing most of the time, and gets very upset when anyone tries to touch her to get her changed, the local care home would charge at least £950 a week, which would use my mother's savings up even faster since moving into a carehome, would mean she would lose her Attendance allowance, and her pension credit she now gets to top up her state pension. Social Services have ensured that it has taken over a month so far to even consider setting up a needs assessment because they always manage to find some bank statement they are suddenly unable to read, and even if they do, I will have to try and get the whole thing with work sorted out to get a relevant day off. I didn't ever have this many problems even when I was working full time and had 2 children.

    All ideas would be lovely,

    Thanks from Chrissie
     
  2. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    769
    Female
    cornwall
    You are entitled to a needs assessment every year so I don’t know what their problem is..
    Have you tried contacting Occupational Therapy? These are the people who will come and assess your mother for the equipment.
    We can self refer to OT down here in Cornwall.You can get the equipment on loan from them without buying anything.
    Plus if you’re mum is that big and needs moving it would be easier for a hospital bed as the bed moves up and down and there would be no strain on your back.
    PS Hoist needs 2people..Sara Steady only 1..Hope this helps
     
  3. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,861
    Female
    This sounds an absolute shambles, I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. I can't help as I don't understand the situation at all. SS should not ask about your mother's financial situation before they have even met her. My mother was over the funding threshold but she had two needs assessments from SS - they asked about funding after they had done the assessment, not before. Obviously they did not offer any care because she could self-fund it, but they were prepared to assess her. In fact the second time, they took so long to respond to my request (3 weeks) that I had already arranged a private carer, but the SW was still happy to go round and check her.

    Obviously that no longer applies for you as your mother is under the threshold, but I don't understand their refusal to turn up.
     
  4. kindred

    kindred Registered User

    Apr 8, 2018
    2,278
    Please consider employing an independent social worker to sort out all this. They are not all that expensive. Google independent social workers in your area.
    I do agree, they are supposed to ask about finances after the assessment notbefore. This is appalling. All sympathy. Kindred.
     
  5. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,861
    Female
    That's a really good idea @kindred - an independent social worker should be able to sort this out.
     
  6. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Thank you everyone for your replies.

    My mother had a needs assessment in January, and although it took some time, I had asked for it in December, they knew she was above the capital threshold because I told them after I was asked. I was told to apply again after my mother went below the capital threshold.

    My mother went under the capital threshold so I emailed them to arrange an appointment. Both financial and needs assessors were fine about visiting. I sent by email all bank statements as requested by the financial assessor, who made 2 very obvious mistakes which put my mother mistakenly above the capital threshold, and stated in her email to me that because they had found my mother to be above the capital threshold she and the needs assessor had both cancelled the meeting. I asked for her actual figures which she sent. When looking at the figures I could see straight away how she had got the figures wrong, and pointed these mistakes out to her. She emailed back to me and told me she would show my complaint to her manager. The amount over even in their estimation was

    The manager wrote back and stated that my mother was not allowed a needs assessment until she had proof that she was under the capital threshold. They are already aware that my mother has to have 24/7 care, and this was already discussed on my mother's initial needs assessment in January. The amount they found over the threshold was £1,448 and 12 pence over the capital threshold, which was not correct because the original assessor misread one bank statement and used the last figure of the page which was going by date the oldest entry where the figure was £1000 which had been withdrawn and put into her main bills account some months previously to pay towards her care bills. If she had used the most recent figure or if she had used the statement balance which read nil balance, that £1000 would not have been included.

    She also mis-read the main bills account because it went over 2 pages of a pdf online statement. Because she had stopped after page 1 of that bank statement, rather than either read the balance on top of the page, or gone onto page 2 of the pdf file she used a figure which was over 2 weeks out of date, which ignored outgoing payments of a1 months day care bill and 1 week wages paid to her full time carer. This was a further £1000 bills ignored.
     
  7. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    There doesn't appear to be any independent social workers near to where I live. Do you think if |I wrote to Social Services who are dealing with my case, they might know someone who does this near here?
     
  8. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Thank you TNJJ,
    That is very helpful. I will contact Occupational Therapy people, they must be somewhere around in this area,, and look for a second person who can help my mother's carer with using a hoist, I'm guessing it's ok if they aren't actually trained on using a hoist since my mother's carer should be able to teach her or indeed him.
    My mother isn't huge, but she is too heavy to force into a moving position even though she is very short, last time we rang the ambulance to help move her, 2 6ft ambulance men couldn't get her to stand up, and on using a stretcher to lay her down to move her to hospital they accidentally cut her leg open when getting her to lie down. Her leg is healing nicely though, and because it is now almost impossible to get her to sit in a car the district nurse has agreed to come and change her dressing every week.
    It would be easier with a local needs assessor since she would know how to get hold of the local Occupational Therapy people, but I feel you are right, it looks like I will need to bypass the needs assessment to get things moving. My next question however, is if I spend extra money from my mother's savings to get these things sorted, will Social Services use this as an excuse to not help even if my mother's savings go down to zero.
     
  9. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    1,332
    The assessment issues seem to be with the local authority finance team rather than social services. The financial team are a completely different department than social services, and social workers should not be calculating financial assessments. Do you have a contact email for the financial assessment team? If so explain that a mistake has been made and ask for your financial assessment to be reviewed urgently. Inform them that until their error is put right social services won't conduct a care needs assessment.

    I might also be helpful if you took all of the correspondence you have from the various departments to a Citizen's Advice Bureau so that they can go through everything and explain how best to deal with this.

    If you speak to the GP they can send a referral to the occupational therapists. In some areas you can contact them directly. Don't spend money on equipment until an occupational health assessment has been carried out as they provide a lot of equipment for free.
     
  10. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Thank you Louise,
    It's a small world here, the financial assessor contacted the needs assessor when she mistakenly put in the wrong figures into her system, and it was the financial assessor that emailed me and told me that due to her findings both her and the needs assessor had decided to cancel the appointment at my mother's.

    Go figure, they have everything covered here. I have just researched how to get hold of the Occupational therapist around here. I have to do this by going through Social Services, and depending on finances they can charge for this service.
    https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/occupational-therapy
    Ironically, it doesn't mention anywhere on their website how much they charge. I really hate going in with my eyes shut in these situations, since if they end up offering no help, I could be spending money that my mother can't actually afford, plus the big suggestion here is that they will only provide this service once my mother has gone through a financial assessment, unless I have read this wrong of course, but defo no price list.
     
  11. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Someone there must be whizz at monopoly.
     
  12. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    209
    That sounds like such a farce and terrible for you, their mistake seems a good way of them not having to come and do assessment and provide any care. Memory nurse sent an Occupational therapist out to see mum as she said they had one on their team at the memory clinic. Perhaps you could access one through your memory clinic if its the same in your area.
    I hope you get something sorted soon x
     
  13. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    You know what Annielou, love the name by the way,

    It does seem strange how very helpful County Council were when they knew my mother was above the capital threshold, do you think it didn't help when I wouldn't buy their panic alarm system they wanted to sell at the time, since by then my mother had a full time carer, can only hear with a hearing aid, and even then was often too confused to wear it, and the only person who would have been able to answer it if the people who ran it rang would have been the carer who lived in with her, since I work full time, I don't drive, and it would have taken me 45 minutes to walk there, plus running to see why my mother pressed some panic button if she did get it, could well get me the sack from work. When they suggested we get it for her in just case her full time carer was busy in the kitchen cooking and didn't notice my mother racing out and roaming the streets, I pointed out that if my mother was out on the street looking for where she lived the neighbours would be on the phone to either where I work, or to the Social Services or to the police, depending on which one noticed her.

    There is a memory clinic my mother used to go to in Northallerton, there are 3 busses a day that go there, but I don't think my mother can get there for appointments anymore. They did run a memory clinic at our doctors, but I think it isn't on very often. Last one was a few months ago. I did make an appointment to see the doctor on my mother's behalf for the 3rd December, I will certainly ask her if she knows if there is going to be another memory session. Perhaps she can let me know if there is an alternative occupational therapist when I am there.

    Could be worthwhile asking her doctor for any equipment I need for my mother whilst there as well. So aside from the possibility of a hoist to help her stand up, can anyone think of any alternatives which might help? The carer suggested we look at getting a rotunda, has anyone ever tried one of these with someone with rather later stages of Alzheimer's, who isn't good at following instructions through being hard of hearing and inability to follow instructions, she now completely refuses to wear a hearing aid since she feels that putting one near to her ear is a form of attacking her, especially as all the people round her seem to insist on whispering, because otherwise she would hear what they were saying.
     
  14. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    769
    Female
    cornwall
    I have a Sara Steady at his for dad.Also a recliner.A Sara steady is on wheels and you can wheel the person around whilst they are standing.There are paddles that go behind her for her to sit on.(google it.Easier to look than explain)
     
  15. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    209
    It does seem like they were happier to help when they're not covering cost doesnt it. I know there isnt a bottomless pit of money but in my limited dealings with social services, not long since mum agreed go gp etc so not had much involvement, but they do seem to be working with a very tight hold on purse strings and limited in what can offer.
    When memory nurse came out to mums home to do mum memory tests she suggested sending OT to see if had any suggestions to help mum. So when social worker came out to do mums care assessment I told her an OT was coming from memory team and she said good, but didn't say if she would have referred us to one herself.
    Maybe you could ring the memory clinic your mum went to before and ask over phone if they have one in their team or know of an OT who could come see your mum.
    I was referred to 'making space' for carer support, its a national charity I think. Ours also has a demetia gateway service. Maybe if you contact them they may be able to offer advice and support in dealing with SS or might know if you can arrange a SW or OT privately without going through social services. I might be clutching at straws but it might be worth a call or email to them just in case.
    https://makingspace.co.uk/
     
  16. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Thank you TNJJ,
    Nice ideas, although it does suggest that the Sara stedy is ideal for people who can follow basic instructions such as lift your feet, put your hands up, hold on to something and stand up. At the moment, when putting my mother into a wheelchair, she won't bend her knees in order to lift her feet up, and if trying to lift her feet up by bending her knee, she is convinced it causes great pain, which is why it's so hard to get her to get into a car. To sit her in a wheelchair or her chair lift now, it's a case of lifting her legs just enough to get get the step underneath her legs, being careful not to bend her knees, she's paranoid about that. Once the foot rest is under her legs distract her so that instinct takes over and she rests her feet on the foot rest once either wheelchair or stairlift starts moving. Physically bending her legs don't cause her any pain, she just thinks it does. Once she is standing up, she can get around using her two walking sticks quite well, although over the last couple of months she has slowed down an awful lot.
    Even 2 years ago my mother could only get into bed by falling into it forwards, she just would not sit down and then lie down.8 months ago my mother struggled so much getting into her bed, she has now shrunk to under 5ft, I had to get the wheels taken off the bed and parts of the legs so that it was lower than a normal bed, this worked really well until after she went to hospital the first time 3 weeks ago, she seems to be struggling to get as far as the centre of the bed now.
    Physically she is able to do it all, but mentally she is so convinced she can't, she just can't even though she tries so very hard.
     
  17. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Thank you Annielou,

    I looked the link up. There is one in Darlington, it does seem to suggest on the link it leads to that this is specifically for anyone living in Darlington, so I'm not certain if they will deal with someone from North Yorkshire, it's worth giving a ring though, as you say.

    I looked at the memory clinic in the Northallerton hospital website, where my mother used to go, and it does suggest that they may be able to refer us to a social worker from the local authority, which ironically are the people who are delaying the financial assessment and therefore the needs assessment for my mother. It is possible that they will want to deal with people from Northallerton first to see if there is any money left over afterwards, although I still find it difficult to understand why they cancelled my mother's needs assessment on the grounds that the financial assessment has a problem with reading bank statements.
    Do you think it would help if I offered to go there and give them lessons next time I have a day off?
     
  18. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    209
    Aw sorry that link not much help x it seems a bit of a lottery what services are available in each area, and who deals with what. When I put my postcode in website search boxes there's hardly anything comes up in my area either but I was lucky on the making spaces, shame not one near you, though don't know if woukd have been helpful.
    Your situation with social services reading statements wrong and refusing assessment is ridiculous, especially after you explain. I can't believe how people are just left to cope and can't get things sorted. There must be some way somehow to get them to look at it again and reconsider but how ?
    Is there an appeal process? I had a farce with mums housing benefit last time her rent went up and there was an option to have the decision looked at by another officer and option to appeal decision I wonder if theres something like that for SS financial assessment where you could resubmit statements along with sheet listing current balances and info they get wrong.
    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/your-support-services/dementia-advice
    You may have already tried these but maybe one of the advisors from here may have some useful advice or contacts for OT.
    Sorry not much help. I do hope you manage to get it sorted somehow x
     
  19. Chrissie B

    Chrissie B Registered User

    Jan 15, 2019
    71
    Female
    North Yorkshire
    Hi Annielou, In theory they are still looking and are going through the procedure of an appeal. Hopefully it will be good news next week lol. I suspect they need to go through the bank account statements very carefully to ensure that I'm not using my mother's money unwisely, Unfortunately this must be very difficult for them if they are unable to read a bank statement.
    I know there was someone else on this site who had difficulties with Yorkshire County Council some time ago, which made me a little wary, so that's why I insisted on doing all my correspondence by email, which I save and back up so as to not lose any of them. The person who wrote before said that social services accused her of taking money out, which she couldn't remember doing. I suspect she couldn't remember because it didn't happen, and Social Services mis-read her bank statement. I would love to know if I am dealing with the same person.

    Probably a good idea to keep the expenses low as possible at the moment as long as it doesn't affect my mother's health though. Could be a bit tricky if I have to take on another employee to help out though. I did suggest getting an apprentice once, and you would think that would have been ideal. Someone could be learning a trade from an excellent carer,, who would protect him or her from my mother's off times, and the student would be able to have time off to go to a course and take exams.

    For some reason I wasn't taken seriously, perhaps I was asking the wrong people.
     
  20. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    209
    I hope you get better news soon. X Sounds like could be dealing with same people or otherwise all using same excuses or as bad as each other.
     

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