Social Workers vs CPNs

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by sue38, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    I have just had a very frustrating conversation with the elderly mental health team attached to the memory clinic.

    Some months ago (end of January) after we hit crisis point, we had an emergency meeting with the doctor at the Memory Clinic and were led to believe that the cavalry was on it's way and we would get the full support of Social Services and CPNs and the like.

    Well we're still waiting....

    My Dad has had a visit from a 'triage nurse' and from a Social Worker at the end of February and then nothing....

    Apparently the SW went on leave shortly after the visit, but all she seem to have done is recommend my Dad as suitable for a day centre. A decision will be made soon...

    I have let my Mum make the calls, but today she asked me to take over and I tried to call the SW. Guess what, she is on leave, but back tomorrow. I asked to speak to the duty social worker and had quite an illuminating, if worrying chat with her.

    The system in Wigan, apparently although nobody has told us this before, is that you either get allocated a SW or a CPN. It's just luck of the draw and who is free to take the case on. Does this seem strange to anyone else? Surely they have had completely different training and deal with different needs.

    More alarmingly I was told that once the SW's recommendations for the day centre have been put in to place, the file will be closed and if we need help in the future a new file will be opened and we will be assigned a new SW/CPN. Where is the continuity of care?

    Naively I had imagined that my Dad would be assigned a CPN who would get to know my Dad, help us to deal with managing my Dad's behaviour, and be on the end of a phone for advice. Clearly I have been living in cloud cuckoo land.

    In the 2 and a half months since the appointment my Dad has deteriorated and his needs have changed, for example he seems to be having difficulty shaving, something which wasn't a problem when he was assessed.

    I have asked the assigned SW to ring me tomorrow. I won't hold my breath.

    Is this other people's experiences? Or do we just have a rubbish system in Wigan?
  2. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Dear Sue, here in Essex our CPNs and SWs all wear interchangeable hats.

    We had a super CPN, but she was not very good at all as a SW.
    She was highly trained in he choice of career, but with cutbacks in services, she had to do double duty and sort out problems usually connected with a SW. Actually I am glad it was that way around, as we needed her special skills.

    I would just say "welcome to the club"
  3. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Learnt this one for myself today, Sue. :( Although just over the 'brook' in Salford ;) in this part of the wilderness, the CPNs and SWs seem to work independently (SSD and NHS being two very seperate entities here? But strangely not when you ring for the Community Team???? :eek: ) .... but having confidently told the CPNs who visited mum today how much I was reassured by mum and I having an allocated social worker who I could ring anytime - and following the CPNs visit having need to ring the 'dedicated' worker' about a certain issue - only to find our case has been closed????? Closed???? After how long waiting to get a referral which necessitated them opening it in the first place????

    One day care place sorted for one day a week and it appears we are 'written off'!!!!!!! And worryingly, the CPNs obviously had no idea that's how it worked either!!!!:eek:

    Sorry, no help or advice - just huge empathy ...... Karen, x
  4. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    I have experienced very similar things to you Sue.

    In our emergency 7 weeks ago I could not even get a telephone answer from the Mental Health Team. Subsequently I rang to ask who my 'care co-ordinator' was (as described in a Derbyshire Mental Health' brochure). Answer: you have not been allocated a CPN!! Since our traumas over the past few weeks I think I have located a SW - but it takes a crisis.

    Looking back it is obvious you have to make a scene to be heard!

    Shout loudly, tell them you want more help set up - WHAT SERVICE do they offer. You may get a response.

    Good luck Jan
  5. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Sue, this is a battle I've been fighting for some time.

    Here, we're allocated a SW, but only get a CPN in cases of challenging behaviour. I know those who have had CPNs have found them very helpful.

    My point is, whan challenging behaviour emerges, who do you turn to? SWs aren't trained for that, and to get a CPN from scratch takes weeks or months.

    It's all down to money. Every area finds its own ways to cut costs, but there is no safety net.

    I'm still foghting!
  6. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    After the conversation this afternoon I wondered about moving my Dad to an area where they have a better system in place. After reading the replies I guess we can cross Essex, Derbyshire, Salford and SW Scotland off the list. :rolleyes:

    Thanks for your replies guys. At least we are all in the same boat. :(

    I can't help thinking that if my Dad had any other sort of terminal illness we could expect better.

    Wow Jan, I am impressed. One of my main 'beefs' is that we have had nothing in writing as to what we can expect. In fact the only thing we have in writing is dates for appointments with the memory clinic, shortly followed by letters saying 'Unfortunately your appointment for June has been cancelled and your new appointment is in October' :eek:

    If and when the SW calls tomorrow I will ask her for a copy of the 'Wigan Mental Health Brochure', and wait for the pregnant pause....
  7. heartbroken

    heartbroken Registered User

    Feb 17, 2008
    we must be lucky
    I phones the socail services in jan to raise concerns for my dad 2 weeks later we had a visit from our sw he is great I can phone any time and get lots of help but our trouble is Edna won't allow the help. 2weeks ago we went to see the consultant, he sent a fantastic cpn to see her today, so we have both sw and cpn
    we must be very lucky or things have got mixed up and the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing
  8. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs

    Don't question it, just be thankful.

    I have just read your thread about the CPN and Edna demonstrating her challenging behaviour. My Dad usually behaves beautifully in front of the professionals (80 years of social grooming working against us) and we can't help but be the proud parents: 'look how clever he is' .... so they go away thinking all is well, things return to 'normal' and we are no further on in getting the support we need. :(
  9. heartbroken

    heartbroken Registered User

    Feb 17, 2008
    hi sue
    I feel for you,
    we did think Edna was going to be so good and not show her true colours,we didn't tell her anyone was coming so I think I was the shock that the cpn was there that upset her, I still can't belive how well it went for us.
    I hope you get something sorted no one should be alone when trying to cope with this awlfull illness take care.
  10. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    south lanarkshire

    I guess we must be kucky in south lanarkshire as well.

    Mum and Dad have always had a very good CPN assigned. Even when in the residential care home, they had a CPN.

    I greatly appreciated the invaluable support of the CPNs

    While at home they also had a dedicated Social Worker, but I must admit, she always had to consult her team leader and always had to be given a kick up the backside to get her finger out and do something, in other words she wasn't pro-active. This dedicated SW was stopped once they went into residential care.

    Recently Dad has needed a SW again and so far I have been impressed with the new assigned SW. He is now in a nursing home and still has a CPN.

    Is this postcode lottery again?
  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Well I was told that a CPN was only accessible via the elderly mental health unit and you could only be referred to the elderly mental health unit if you has an Alzheimer's Disease diagnosis: i.e. a defined progressive disease. Since Mummy's dementia was due to strokes we were out of luck.
  12. elaineo2

    elaineo2 Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    leigh lancashire
    dear Sue,i can't believe i have read this post just now,and have had a similar converstion with a colleague tonight.Her grandad is disabled,one arm and one leg.prone to falls as you can imagine.he has recently had a tia.he is now in care for respite.Wigan council won't fund him for care as he is able to wash and dress himself,and seeing he has one arm can operate a microwave.I'm utterly disgusted at the treatment of both your dad and my friends much so that i have given my friend the email address to contact the manager of adult services.she was great with my can have the address if you like.sorry for your circumstances.elainex
  13. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    Hi Sue

    My mum was just like your dad… she presented well, was so so polite, and always offered a cup of tea etc. And just like a proud parent I found it impossible to verbalise how bad she really was. It made life just a bit more difficult!!

    I found it very difficult getting help from either the NHS or SS.
    With the exception of the three monthly visit to the Consultant at the local memory clinic, which ran like clockwork, I found nothing else on offer from the public sector worked.

    We were allocated a CPN, but after a little while he kept saying he couldn’t come because he was snowed under with paperwork. Then after a couple of years he said he couldn’t do anymore for mum and stopped coming altogether.

    My last brush with SS was when the hospital A & E asked them to visit mum who had fallen. I rang them several times to remind them and was always told I was on the waiting list.

    Eventually after eleven weeks (and after mum had gone in a Care Home) I got a message on the answer machine which logged it at three o’clock.

    The message said that the caller had been allocated to visit mum BUT I had to ring her back to make an appointment before four o’clock that day “because she was going on leave” !!!

  14. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    Well the Social Worker did ring and we had quite a 'chat'.

    It seems that she was not aware that my Dad had any ongoing needs. I asked her if she had read the letter that I had given to the doctor at the emergency appointment in January, giving a full history of my Dad's challenging behaviour. Yes she had but had not realised that those problems were still ongoing. WHAT???

    Did she think that he just got better all on his own?

    Clive don't talk to me about leave. Since she was allocated my Dad's case in February she has had 3 weeks' leave followed by another week. 4 weeks in 2 months. OK for some. She told me she was entitled to her leave, of course, but why were we allocated to her when she was about to go on 3 weeks' leave? Apparently I'll have to take it up with her line manager.

    I did ask about a brochure detailing the services available and apparently they do have one. Why we have not been given this yet, Lord only knows.

    A friend of mine who is a GP rang me this morning and her unofficial view of the services provided in the mental health section is that it is 'cr*p'. She also thinks that AD sufferers fall between the stools of CPNs and SWs. She thinks that CPNs have limited training when it comes to dementia (AD at the back of the queue again)and that in some circumstances a SW may be the better bet.

    Anyway the upshot is that I am to have a meeting with her next Friday. Will keep you posted.
  15. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland

    What exactly are they trained in then?:eek:

    And what hope for the poor carer?
  16. sad nell

    sad nell Registered User

    feel ing very lucky for a change

    My husband has a wonderfull CPN, who has been our life line, very understanding ss worker who i feel is doing his brst for us. by having Trev at home i must be saving social services a tidy sum, but i do feel supported by every one i have dealt with, Trev just recently admitted with terrible sickness & constant runs, hewas given private room with en suite, i stayed with him and was very happy with his level of care. so well done to Yorkshre, cannot believe how much it varies from ares to area.I have just been offered a bed for full time care for Trev but I think we can manage a good while longer, but saying that a few hours ago when house covered in faeces, bed staircase, trev and i Dancing on not soo nice on the bathroom floor, i nearly gave in, but have showered and both sweet smelling again so will survive . another day Expect an exodus to Bradford for glowing report of social sevices and cpn, think perhaps wehave just had abit of luck for once
  17. TinaT

    TinaT Registered User

    Sep 27, 2006

    Have you tried ringing the Consultant up directly or asking for the Consultant's secretary and explaining that you need an urgent appointment as things have deteriorated considerably? This tact has worked very well for me and did get me some help from both CPN and social worker. Good luck and so sorry you are not getting the help you need.

  18. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    Hi Tina,

    This is how we got where we are now. In January we said 'we are not coping, we need help NOW'. Urgent appointment at Memory Clinic (within the week), long letter explaining the problems we were having. Doctor (not the consultant on this occasion) told us yes, we needed help, would get the team of SWs, OTs and CPNs on to the case. Then nothing...

    11 weeks to the day since that urgent appointment. :mad:

    I think I will see what happens next Friday and then speak with the consultant. I also have a friend whose husband is quite senior within the mental health section of the local PCT and she has offered his help. I have been reluctant to go down the route of 'it's not what you know but who you know' and tried to work within the system. But if needs must...
  19. Short girl

    Short girl Registered User

    Mar 22, 2008
    Sadly what I have read is all too common - trouble is we have a mushrooming elderly population and not enough staff be it SW or CPN - I work in social care as an unqualified worker - we are constantly having to ensure our case-loads don't overload us and the practice is to end involvement once everything is reasonably ok. Sue, wish I had the same amount of leave as your Dad's SW has!!! something can't be right. Believe me though the public really do get fobbed off as much as possibile.
    In my Nan's case, she has too much capital and would pay the full whack for any service - gone private with all the services and thank god, as a serious conflict would have ensued and I'd probably get forced to leave:mad::D
  20. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    West Yorkshire
    #20 hendy, Apr 12, 2008
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
    Dear Sue
    Sorry you're having all these problems. When Dad was trying to be 'independent' he had a SW who visited him twice. When he deteriorated, I remember pulling my hair out in exasperation. I remember a GP giving him a prescription of dangerous medications that would have killed him had they been dispensed. I was desperate for a CPN (or anybody really) and rang and rang only to be told my dad didn't have one??? No Bu**er was any use whatsoever. Things reached total rock bottom, I wont go into details, and we managed to get someone (a nurse off the psychiatric ward) to come. My husband and I didn't leave Dad until someone came to take him into hospital. All i can say is that 'they' will even put patients(and everyone else) at risk before they will act. We explained to them(this is the polite version) they would be reponsible for Dads behaviour etc and would make them professionally accountable. I'm sorry Sue, this is a bit extreme, but I have been distrustful of the 'system' ever since. I think its pot luck, if you get a good SW, frankly its a miracle if you do. Now my dad is totally under the care of NHS and social services, so the battles are still there, but just different ones.
    Just do whatever it takes to get it sorted.( I am sure you can think of lots of ways!)
    take care

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