It's time for the care sector to start thinking 'technology' smart. Not just for the protection and safeguarding of our most vulnerable but for the professionals who value their reputation as good, conscientious led Care Providers. Our most vulnerable and their carers deserve no lessJayne Connery
I have just spent five days in a hospital ward with my mother who lives with middle /late stage vascular dementia. Her fifth admission over a period of eight months. Under a year ago, her first admission, it was evident a worrying lack of dementia care towards her. I contacted the hospital's CEO and aired my grave concern , not just as her daughter, but as a advocate of better care standards for those living with dementia in care homes and hospitals.
The CEO, thankfully, did not dismiss my worries and agreed much more needed to be done to cater for those living with this disease in hospitals. He invited me to talk to a group of lead nurses and dementia advocates. I invited two representatives from my dementia support group to attend with me and we eagerly discussed the needs in hospitals to deliver better dementia care standards. We spoke in length many issues for those with dementia on admission and during ward stays. It felt like we were making small progress for better dementia care practices. When I returned six months later it had improved. Some time later on another admission it was like I had stepped back in time. I documented again , many serious care failings all of which were 'basic ' care needs. I wrote a strongly worded letter to the CEO and his response was met with much dismay and a swift, detailed reply, pledging to do more for my mother and patients with dementia and a huge, heartfelt apology.
This week my mother was admitted again to the same hospital with me as her full time carer. Settling her into the ward I noticed straight away how dementia care /understanding was poor. Many individual nurses /care assistants of course did their best - evident in one ward they were vastly understaffed and worrying after speaking to a nurse, I was informed that for a 36 bed Ward 4 care assistants working. Everything we had spoken about the previous year and implementing change for those living with dementia had not been maintained. Sadly this complex disease is not understood by many. The medical side of dementia , without doubt is understood by the medical professionals- but the practical side ? I often stood stern faced at doctors peering over my mum smiling broadly explaining why they were treating her and how they were going to carry out the procedure. This made her scared , confused and slowly becoming more and more aggressive /agitated. I wondered would doctors do this to a child. ?What's the difference at late stage dementia? Carers will tell you, there is none. Many medics are only doing what they do with all their patients ,but, if they really understood the complexities of dementia and treated each patient case by case and as individuals , it would be understood this can indeed be very traumatic to someone who can't dissolve this information and then process it. Hence why I stop doctors and politely inform them , could they explain to me and I will tell mum in my own way - a much more kinder and less traumatic way. This is often met with a bemused look and in many cases, a 'reluctant' nod. Saying this , doctors are there to get you well and I have huge respect and praise for them
Whilst caring for my mother on her ward, I was met with much frustration. Her condition is at a stage she can not communicate in sentences and does not know how to tell someone when she in pain, nor can she move to reposition herself. Without being disrespectful as many may think who don't understand the disease , the person in front of me I see as a adult 'child'. Someone dependent on their carer, helpless in relaying their fears and needs and this is a role I and her full time carer , willingly take on. Her hospital stay was met with a catalogue of preventable failures of care. . No 'Nil by mouth ' signage above her bed before her procedure. To which, I had given her a few sips of tea unknowingly. Seven hours in between pad changes , no time to encourage patients to take fluid. No care assistant to assist with food intake when needed and not just my mother - a patient opposite mum in much distress, being left for over 35 minutes when calling out for help to go to the toilet in distress. When no help came nurses telling her they were 'too busy' and could 'she wait ' or 'do it in her pad' - I assisted the frail old lady, taking her by the hand and saved her dignity. My mother's supper was forgotten, resulting in me doing a merciful dash to the kitchen or she would have gone without. A rehydration drip was missed during the night and a day nurse confirmed she had raised a complaint. A nurse giving mum two lots of (two) paracetamol until i queried it and he apologised - knowing mum suffers with kidney disease, a 'sorry' didn't fill me with much confidence, understanding human error can happen , I felt strongly this needed reporting.
I received a e mail from the CEO telling me they agreed my mother's care was not given the attention she needed in that particular ward and it was promised, more would be done to assist her with her care needs whilst in hospital.
My mum's going to be ok. I know as my capacity as a advocate for better care standards and as a carer , I raise the bar very high to ensure any failures of care will be raised as so to implement better standards of care for those living with dementia. My mum will not be discharged from hospital worse than she went in as too many dementia patients, in many documented cases evidently do. She has someone to be her voice and ears and I know she is one of the lucky one's. But what about the rest of the souls living with middle/ late stage dementia in hospitals, who have no one sitting beside them. What's their fate ?
If dementia care isn't highly prioritised in ALL hospitals then, its not good, not good at all.
British Actress Aimi Macdonald is Care Campaign for the Vulnerable Ambassador - raising public awareness for better, safer, transparent care within the care sector.
I am delighted to be invited as a Ambassador to assist in this wonderful campaign instigated by Jayne Connery regarding CCTV security in care homes throughout the UK. This, I feel, will benefit carers, staff, residents and their families in the event of any dispute. As a relative of someone suffering with Alzheimers disease I have been involved with care homes over the last ten years and I feel the knowledge I have can contribute to this very important initiative
Adventure with Dementia provide values-based learning, development and improvement programmes which include life elements relevant to us all irrespective of a diagnosis of disease or disability. Our approach is that of doing 'with' people and not doing 'for' them thus creating family style daily living which is occupied, meaningful and fulfilled while also challenging the stereotypes of a carers role to empower them to do things differently: pledging to make a difference.Visit Website
Chiltern and South Bucks District Council SAFE PLACE SCHEME has called on Care Campaign for the Vulnerable to add our support to the initiative for those who are vulnerable in the community to get help if out and about and feeling scared , lost or confused.Read more
It's time for the care sector to start thinking 'technology' smart. Not just for the protection and safeguarding of our most vulnerable but for the professionals who value their reputation as good, conscientious led Care Providers. Our most vulnerable and their carers deserve no lessJayne Connery, Founder Care Campaign for the Vulnerable
Read articles from the press regarding our campaignView our press coverage
"The evidence from Providers who have installed CCTV seems to me to merit careful attention and to be quite persuasive"
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Having my own mum receive home care, holidays can sometimes bring a change in routine - leaving a negative effect o… https://t.co/f21ueCGMZ114/12/2018, 7:11pm
Ditto to that !! https://t.co/q5MtZPUGvM14/12/2018, 6:55pm