Social Services - Am I Being Unreasonable?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Bessieb, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    108
    My parents are currently in respite care in a lovely assisted living / CH and I want to make this a permanent arrangement. Both Mum and Dad have Alzheimers at a similar stage. They were at home with a care package until June when my Dad was in hospital for a month with a UTI and everything went downhill with their AZ and general health.

    I have been asking Social Services - via their Social Worker - to do a needs assessment / mental capacity assessment / best interests assessment since June. If I'm going to make a permanent residential arrangement for them, sell their house to fund etc I feel that I need some professional back up and opinion to say that I'm doing the right thing. Particularly as my parents if asked believe they are fine, no problem and keep telling me 'they are going home tomorrow'. This is because their AZ means they have no real understanding of their care needs or where they are really - depending on the day they think they are on a Cruise Ship, in a hotel, pub or hospital. They generally believe they have only arrived that day even though they have been there 8 weeks.

    I know in my heart of hearts that they cannot cope any longer at home - and home is 3 hours away from me so they would have no family support (I am an only child) but it's very hard to hear them planning to go home all the time and feeling I'm doing this against their wishes . I feel I need some support from SS to reassure me that I am doing the right thing for them and acting in their best interests.

    So the problem is that Social Services are making every excuse not to do any form of assessment. The Social Worker is very happy to talk to me on the phone about it at length and is verbally very reassuring but I have had every excuse not to do a documented assessment. They say it is my decision because I have POA. They think my actions are reasonable. They can't decide whether it should be their short term or long term social worker team that should deal with the case so are passing me from pillar to post. They are not sure which type of assessment would be best etc etc
    It's been going on and on and I feel I need to make a decision for my parents. I am getting very cross with SS. Am I being unreasonable? I just need something from them to say 'yes you are doing the right thing' based on their objective assessment of my parents needs . I thought they were duty bound to do an assessment but it's like talking to a brick wall.
    Perhaps if I said I was taking my parents home and leaving them there they would have to do something.

    Sorry for the rant but has anyone had a similar experience or any advice on how I can get SS to validate or support my decision?
     
  2. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    2,852
    England
    Not unreasonable, just too efficient! I would guess that SS are not required to assess people in a RH, just in their own homes. You are lucky that the SW has been supportive. I also understand your need for back up. Problem is, the SW is very mindful of all the rules and targets for SS, and cannot prioritise an assessment that does not qualify as essential to them.

    There will need to be a DOLS assessment anyway I would have thought, to assess your parents need to be living permanently in a secure environment. The DOLS report should confirm your safety decision, based on 24/7 observations.
     
  3. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    539
    Female
    Shropshire
    This is the time for the very teary phone call believe me once you think about their situation and the decisions you have to make they will come,and I would get their doctor involved too. You should get more support from S S but you have to drop lucky sometimes getting someone who cares and is not just doing a job.. Good Luck.
     
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,759
    Salford
    Social Services by law have to do an assessment, however, as it's self funding there's really nothing they will do other than they could do to "validate or support my decision" you have POA so it's really entirely up to you what happens so I guess they see you as a low priority. That said they are shirking their legal responsibility by not doing the assessment which is totally wrong of them.
    I have said this more than once, but why use the phone, anyone can say anything on the phone it's much better to use e-mail (or a good old fashioned letter) once there is a paper trail people seem to get more serious, I'd find the website for your local council and send a message asking why you've been asking since June for an assessment and one hasn't been done? I'm willing to bet that'll have someone there in a few days.
    Using the phone makes a bit of evasion (polite word) easier than when there's an evidential trail of e-mails or letters.
    As what you're doing is the right thing (I think) I wouldn't lose any sleep over it I'd just get on and do it but if in the future the money might run out it would be better if what you're doing had been sanctioned by them or at least you had written proof of what's been happening.
    K
     
  5. patchworkamber

    patchworkamber Registered User

    Jan 6, 2014
    45
    south east wales
    If you do write, I would certainly lean towards saying you wish to make a formal complaint that your parents have not received an assessment despite repeated requests. A complaint takes it into another league and there are strict guidelines of response times etc. Basically, social services don't like receiving complaints. I have been on both sides as a user and social worker!
     
  6. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Bessie, I'm sorry to hear about your situation with your parents. This must be very difficult for you (not that anything about being a caregiver to someone with dementia is easy).

    Like you, I'm an only child. While it's sometimes lonely, I try to keep in mind that there are no siblings to obstruct me or argue with my decisions. Some of the stories I hear from people, here and in my support groups, make me glad to not be dealing with that sort of complication (like the lady in my support group whose sister routinely calls the police on her; the sister does not accept their father has Alzheimer's, even after many years).

    Sorry, that was irrelevant. I'm doing a lot of paperwork today for my mother and I'm just all over the place.

    I live in the States, and our system works differently from yours, but you have gotten some advice here about how you might deal with Social Services. Certainly what I've seen said over and over here is that you must keep after them and be loud and demand your legal rights.

    If you are looking for some reassurance that it's okay to move your parents permanently into the care home (and I apologise if I misunderstood what you said), well, I can understand that. I imagine most or all of us who have faced this situation have struggled with that, at times, to a greater or lesser degree. It's understandable you would be seeking reassurance. Again, I'm speaking here of you receiving some emotional reassurance, not anything from a legal standpoint (which you may also be seeking; again, I can't advise you there, sorry).

    Instead of looking for it from social services, however, what about seeking it elsewhere? Ideas:
    -your parents' GP or any doctor who knows about the dementia and has treated them (I found it very helpful to hear from my mother's former GP and her current neurologist, that they thought she is where she needs to be and receiving the appropriate level of care)
    -nurses or other staff at the facility where they are in respite
    -here on TP
    -from a dementia support group
    -family, friends, and neighbors and other community members who know you and/or your parents
    -an attorney/solicitor, financial advisor, bank manager, or other professional you could talk to, who knows you and/or your parents
    -a therapist/counselor/social worker/psychologist/doctor (yours)
    -if applicable, a religious or spiritual leader

    I'm sorry you feel you are acting against their wishes. Again, many of us have been there. What I do know that you are doing, is acting in their best interests, which is exactly what you should be doing. They have no other family to care for them or make decisions. If you live three hours away, you would not even be able to pop in to supervise carers, let alone be the one providing hands-on care 24/7.

    Most of us don't have the resources to arrange for 24/7 care at home and turn to a care home/residential facility. I know that in my mother's case, she is better off in the care home than she would have been at home, even with a live-in carer (which would have been impossible for several reasons). I would not have believed that would be possible, but it is.

    This is very difficult and there are no easy answers. I hope you're able to get some action from Social Services and the information you need to do what you need to do. Good luck.
     
  7. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    108
    Thank you all. It is very useful to get some perspective and others experiences.
    It's so painful and frankly exhausting having to make the decision to move to residential care that it has felt very lonely. And as sometimes my Father, who is a very strong character, can be quite lucid and so I've been quite wracked with anxiety as to whether I'm doing the right thing at some points.

    Anyway I did have some progress with SS yesterday. They have agreed, with the GP, to do a Mental Capacity Assessment for both of my parents next week. The SW was actually very supportive and said that she would want this reassurance to if she was in my position...but that she fully expects the outcome to suggest that they don't have capacity and residential care is the most appropriate option. It made me feel a little better just hearing someone else say that...helped the guilt monster a little bit.

    Thanks again all x
     
  8. Dustycat

    Dustycat Registered User

    Jul 14, 2014
    220
    North East
    I like you am an only child and wanted some reassurance when I placed my Dad in care. The CPN was quite helpful but in reality no one would say I was doing the right thing. Because he was self funding they didn't really want to know. My advice is go with your instinct. Best of luck. X
     

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