The hot potatoe that’s care for the elderly

Mum had a fall a few months ago and managed to land that little bit too heavily and consequently broke her hip. That in turn led to a new hip so the fall actually helped her in that she now has the new hip that she needed but would otherwise have needed to wait a couple of years to get. That then led to was an extended stay in what’s called an intermediate care home which is basically an annexe to the hospital in all but name and she’d been there almost six weeks now.

That “almost six weeks” means that last week I was called to what’s essentially a discharge meeting where all the social work people along with a representative from the care home to discuss what her situation was now and what should happen next. It’s almost six weeks because six weeks is the maximum amount of time that the local trust will pay for recuperative care and after that, well, that’s a good question as it turns out.

It was very clear from what was said about her current condition that our house just isn’t suitable for her and neither would we be able to offer the level of care that seems to be necessary, even were we to accept what would be a very high degree of care on offer from the trust. Actually, the level of care on offer was something that we’d had offered before and when we thought through the consequences, it just wasn’t going to be viable. Moreover, now they’re saying that it’s pretty much round the clock care that she needs which isn’t on offer and wouldn’t really be practical for us even if it were.

Anyway, that in turn meant that we we felt that a nursing home was the way to go. But is it a “nursing home” or a ” residential home” that she needs? That’s a good question and one that I couldn’t answer. Neither could the people at the meeting, at least not in a definitive way. Would it be permanent or temporary? Another good question although in that old people always get older I’d say that permanent would be a good guess.

A rather interesting question is who pays for it all. As far as the social worker group were concerned it was around £540 from them (in itself consisting of all but £22 of Mum’s pension and allowances) and the top-up of (for that home) of £70 from me. That was if the money was available in the budget which, of course, it may not be. A chat with Age Concern (OK, AgeUK, but really, who calls them that?) it was quite a different story. For one thing they appear to have to find the money from the budget and I don’t have to pay a top-up either as only someone “willing and able” to pay would have to pay (she can’t pay herself as it needs to be a 3rd party).

Until we found all that out we were running around everywhere trying to find a home that we could afford (of which there were none) and that had spaces (also none). Who knows what’ll happen on Monday when the six weeks are up though as I’ve not been able to get in touch with any of the social worker team.

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