pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tearing my Hair Out!

Thank you for all your kind comments on my previous post, I really appreciate them.   Many apologies for not having the time to reply to them.   Here's why...

On Friday afternoon I was telephoned by the 'Home Care Team', part of Social Services.    Apparently, they had assessed Aunt Lillian as being fit to be discharged from the rehabilitation unit of the Care Home.   They had held a meeting with my 91 year old aunt and it had been agreed that I would arrange for her to have carers call in three times a day.    

They had also agreed that she would need a 'Falls Bracelet and Alarm' - and had agreed that I could arrange this.

Oh, and by the way, in order for this to be fitted I would need to arrange to have a key safe fitted to the outside of the house...

By this point my blood pressure must have been dangerously high.    

Now hold on one cotton picking moment....  "How come I wasn't invited to this meeting?"

"Well, ducky, we asked your aunt whether she wanted you at the meeting and she told us that she didn't need you, legally, we had to comply with her wishes.... patient confidentiality, etc.... "

Steam is coming out of my ears as I type this.   I am so angry.   One dangerously incompetent old woman with memory problems, had to represent herself and had committed me to all of this...and that was ok, as long as her confidentiality was not compromised?

Social Services passing the buck.


So, the last few days have been spent organising a team of private carers to come in and look after her, having the special alarm fitted, George bought the key safe and fitted it.   We have cleaned her house and restocked the fridge and larder, arranged for her newspapers to be delivered again, and had extra keys cut.    

The aged aunt insisted that she was not any medication - and wasn't that marvellous for a 91 year old.... I queried that with the care home.   Amazingly, they didn't seem bound by the same need for patient confidentiality, and gave me a list of what she needs to take....a long list of medications.

Just as well that I thought to check, for it had also been agreed that I would contact the pharmacy which my aunt uses (like I would know) to have her pills put into blister packs so that the carers can just pop them out for her.

Beam me up, Scottie.

She returned to her little house yesterday would have been earlier in the day, if only I hadn't been inconsiderate enough to own a Land Rover...   for it had also been agreed that I  would take her home in my car...     I laughed.   Had they done a risk assessment on the danger posed by getting a fragile 91 year old to lift her leg up high enough to get into my truck - or were they suggesting that I lay her down in the back?

She got taken home by ambulance.   Naughty niece.

So, she is cosily tucked up in her own home.   Her shelves are fully stocked, the bed freshly made.   A large bunch of seedless grapes and the latest edition of her favourite magazine are to hand.   

Thanks, George.   I couldn't have done it without you. xx 


  1. I'd be seething too. What on earth were they thinking having the meeting without someone competent there from the family, especially when so much of the outcome concerns you?

  2. That patient confidentiality issue can be a problem here in the states, too. I will be thinking of you as you work your way through the next few weeks. Do you have anyone to share the burden with besides George? Although, sometimes, it helps to be the only one making decisions. People have a hard time agreeing on proper care.

  3. I understand totally how you feel elaine. My sister and me , had terrible problems with my mothers family doctor just before she try and find out exactly what was the problem , questions we had to ask.. and she just simply replied.. cant tell you. " patient confidentiality"..good god..she was our mother.. we were furious..we had a big row with her. Up to this day, we dont know what my mother really had.
    I think its atrocious not to tell the immediate family ..and to include them in the process of their loved ones growing old.
    You are not a naughty niece.. it was the best thing to do to let her go home by ambulance.. more comfortable and less responsibility for you..
    You have a lot on your hands now elaine.. 91 what a great age. You have been a loving niece to her.
    Take care.. wishing you and G .. a happy Easter.
    val x x

  4. I'm so sorry you have had such difficulties with the "system" caring for your aunt. Perhaps giving some bread dough a good and thorough kneading (beating) would help diffuse some of the justifiable frustration. My own experience here in Canada has been quite different with doctors wanting very much to include the family in the care decisions.

  5. Well done for taking a deep breath and getting all the doing done, I would have been so cross too. Perhaps you should sit down with some tea and a favourite edition of one of your magazines too :) xx

  6. Dearest Elaine....I can totally relate to what you are experiencing. As you know, I had the same experience just 6 months ago with my mother. You have certainly done more than your fair share. There are just no easy answers in how to deal with the "system". It was much the same for me, in the states.

  7. This all hits close to home for us. We had such a bad time with my father-in-law. And even now after he has passed we are having trouble with all the insurances and other agencies that want their bit of payment.

  8. All I can wish you is the best possible luck and bucket loads of patience in dealing with all this Elaine. If its any help, I did find that once I bit the bullet and took on full responsibility for my Mum, it was easier to cope and that having one person making all the key decisions made life a lot easier.

  9. What a dirty trick to rope you into this situation without your consent or knowledge! Under the circumstances, I really wonder how long she will be able to stay in this type of arrangement. It sounds like she will need more supervision and care than they are providing for her. My heart goes out to you, Elaine.

  10. Oh!dear Elaine.....reading between the lines I note a very annoyed tone to this post or should I just say flipping fed up. IMO I'm sure you want to help your Aunt but it does seem to me as if you have been taken for granted. I get the impression they didn't want you to be at that meeting either. I wonder why??? You did say this was social services didn't you? I mean what happened to the service bit in social services.

    So sorry to hear you are having some trying moments but I'm glad to hear your Aunty is back in her own home even if she sounds like a bit of a pain. I'm inclined to think you are right though ....I bet she is lapping up the attention.

    keep well

    Amanda :-)

  11. I've now been able to post my comments here so I'll be deleting them from your previous post.

    Amanda :-)

  12. Elaine, that's awful. Not surprised that you're seething. Marianne's advice is good. Wishing you all the best, Molly x

  13. Oh my.... I bet you've uttered a few choice words behind closed doors! Sending loads of 'bloggy best wishes', Jx

  14. Unbelievable! You are a saint... or you deserve at least 10 gold stars...

  15. I've been away too long. You're a saint to take all this on -- sounds SO frustrating! (Your aunt is lucky to have you. I also agree that it would be easier to have one person making the decisions.)



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