Alison and Kathleen

Alison’s mum, Kathleen, moved in with her after her dad passed away last year as Alison didn’t want her mum to live alone. Kathleen has been in good health aside from the prospect of needing a hip replacement to help alleviate pains in her legs. However, four weeks ago Kathleen suffered a stroke and was taken into the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

As a result of the stroke, Kathleen suffered a loss of movement on the right side of her body as well as problems with her speech. After daily therapy, her speech steadily improved; she has increased movement in her right arm and can now turn and raise it above her head. Rehabilitation was due to continue after Kathleen transferred to St. Mark’s Hospital, Maidenhead. However, Alison was frustrated and disappointed to learn that there was a change of plan and that due to her mum’s needs and their postcode, Kathleen would be transferring to Woking Community Hospital instead. Woking is over 40 miles away from home, making visiting the hospital inconvenient and expensive. Given the household relies financially on Pension Credit and Carer’s Allowance, this was a massive blow as Alison did not know how she was going to be able to afford to visit her mum regularly. Alison was invited to a case conference to discuss the next steps for Kathleen’s care.

Before attending the conference, Alison decided to call Eldercare and ask to speak to a care adviser. Kathleen has been an Eldercare personal alarm service user for many years and expert care advice comes as a complimentary service for service users and their families. Alison spoke to an adviser called Sue who listened carefully to their situation and was completely sympathetic to Alison’s concerns.

Sue suggested that Alison put forward the view that it was in her mother’s best interests to have her daughter nearby and able to visit as often as possible. This wouldn’t be the case if Kathleen was 40 miles away. After speaking with Sue, Alison had confidence to argue her position and this was accepted. Given that St. Mark’s Hospital, Maidenhead did not have the facilities to meet her mum’s needs, an alternative plan was agreed for Kathleen to be discharged from hospital and have care at home where she would be most comfortable.

An occupational therapist organised for a hospital bed, commode and hoist to be put in place at their home. Also, it was arranged for two carers to visit Kathleen four times a day to assist with her care needs. Sue provided Alison with useful information on caring for someone at home, including options to consider when Kathleen’s condition started to improve. Sue also provided Alison with information on paying for care so that she was fully appraised of benefit entitlements.
Happily, Kathleen is recovering well. With Sue’s help, Alison has been able to organise care for when her mum’s NHS care package comes to an end, whilst ensuring that Kathleen receives direct payments from Social Services. Access to Eldercare’s expert care advice has been a great help and Alison feels that she has had wonderful support from the Eldercare care adviser through this difficult period.

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