Who takes responsibility?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Mike M, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M Registered User

    Oct 25, 2011
    My mum is 88 and lives on her own in North Yorkshire. I'm her only child, living 200 miles away. Mum has been living with depression for the past 18 years and, in general, has coped pretty well. About 5 years ago she began having quite exotic and detailed hallucinations which the consultant psychiatrist said was Charles Bonet syndrome (an optical problem rather than psychological). About 3 years ago she began having mild auditory hallucinations. However, over the last 6 months or so these hallucinations have become more disturbing and mum has become increasingly paranoid about the people next door. Matters reached a head 5 weeks ago when she was convinced she'd murdered someone and put their body in the airing cupboard and that this was being announced on the radio. She called in the police. I went over to stay with her for the week and calmed her down and got the GP to look at her and re-engaged the psychiatric support. It was then that I was told that she'd been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia two years ago!

    Having thought I'd got the authorities moving, Mum dipped again and I contacted Social Services via their emergency line. A couple of weeks ago Mum was in a bad state again so I went to stay with her, sorted her out etc.

    The problem I have is that the GP and consultant psychiatrist, recognising that Mum's condition worsens when the sun goes down and at the weekends recommend residential care. Mum does not object to this. The Social Services, at the moment, are unable to offer night time support and have offered two, daytime, 15 minute care visits on Sat and Sun which seem totally inadequate.

    So, the question is, who actually agrees to Mum going to the safety of a residential care home? The medics want it, the social services seem unwilling to spend the money. I can see their point of view - Mum maintains pretty high standards of cleanliness and, with the help of a good neighbour, is well fed and medicated. So the social worker sees her at daytime, clean, fed and not "freaking out". The neighbour can't cope with her bouts. Mum has taken to walking down the road to her at night which is unsafe. Calming the hallucinations over the phone is a challenge.

    Grateful for your comments!
  2. Keely

    Keely Registered User

    Aug 6, 2007
    I am sorry to hear about your situation it is so sad watching those we love deteriorate and it is difficult even when in easy travelling distance to get services to work in their favour so I can sympathise with the extra stress of distance. I am no expert on this but if your mum is willing to go into residential care and you the GP her consultant recommend this then I am shocked that a social worker is not willing to agree. I would put in writting to the social worker your concerns about your mothers saftey on an evening and I would also state that the neighbour is no longer willing to take the responsiblity of the care. I would also state the distance you are from your mother and your concern for her as a vulnerable adult and ask for a written reply. My experience is that Social workers are fine about stating things when there is no written record but it does tend to make them think twice if they have concerns put in writting and have to reply in writting as a clear record then exists. Also even if they do not think your mother is at risk (which I would strenuously refute) I would also push the distress and suffering that the episodes are having upon your mother and yourself. You could also request a carers assesment as your needs should also be taken into consideration. I would also cc the letter to the GP and the consultant. If within the time you stated you do not recieve a reply then I would write to the snior manager with the responsible for older peoples care and complain. Sadly, my experience of care is that you have to fight for it.
  3. Mike M

    Mike M Registered User

    Oct 25, 2011
    Who takes responsibility

    Grateful for that advice which confirmed I was doing the right thing. Mum is now, at least temporarily, in a residential home. The trick to getting social services to take things seriously was to threaten a complaint (and I was in the right to do this). Local authorities hate complaints. The social services area manager immediately got involved, apologised for their lack of action/empathy and really got things moving.

    I only wish I had been told when this was diagnosed (two years ago) so that we could get support in place in good time instead of firefighting!
  4. Jancis

    Jancis Registered User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Hi MikeM,
    Just wanted to say welcome from me to the forum, only just having read your post which is timely as we are discussing the subject of sharing patient information on a couple of threads here at the moment. Wittsend and Logan have both been posting about this and I think your story is of great significance to our concerns.

    Jancis x

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