When I was Supply Teaching in this area I heard from secondary school pupils how easy it was to get ‘a fiver deal’. I got to know the names of local drug dealers and their patches. I know where to get my own fix this morning to help me cope with the events of yesterday.
Maureen continues to languish in the Konar Suite. She is not ‘settled’ there – she is frightened – and can’t understand why she can’t come home.
On Monday I spent several hours trying to speed up her discharge. our concerns were seen as valid and reasonable. Consequently, the meeting was brought forward until today. My mobile rang early yesterday morning with the news that the meeting could not take place until Friday.
I need something to take my mind of how the interpretation of the Mental Capacity Act mitigates against person-centered care. As I posted yesterday we are dealing with a machine driven by a tick box culture.
My fiver deal this morning will be my monthly trim, carried out by Polly, who shares my surname. She will use number 6 and 4 clippers – she knows what I want.
Polly is struggling to sleep at the moment. She is worried she will forget her steps when she performs a waltz for the first time at a charity event on Saturday evening. Polly will always get TEN from me as she knows how to be person-centered.
My fiver deal with Polly includes a £1 tip!
No prizes for guessing where Maureen slept last night. A member of staff has just confirmed that ‘she slept with us in the lounge’: she is so ‘settled’ in the Konar Suite that she is afraid to sleep alone in her room!
A family member reminded me yesterday that ‘we are dealing with the machine’. The driver of the machine is the Mental Capacity Act. It leads to a tick box culture that has little to do with person-centered care.
Maureen remains in an Acute Mental Health Unit. She said to me yesterday that ‘she has done nothing wrong and should be allowed to go home’. My efforts to speed up her departure have resulted in the Best Interest Meeting being brought forward to tomorrow.
I appreciate that professional staff are doing their best to ensure that Maureen’s future care and accommodation is appropriate. My mission yesterday was to speed up the process as Maureen remains extremely frightened by her environment: that is not in anyone’s Best Interest.
I have just spoken to a staff member on Konar. Maureen is asleep in the lounge in an armchair. She continues to be reluctant to sleep alone in a strange room. Her history of domestic violence continues to be fundamental in her presentation.
As you will see the Bonfire Party on the Konar Suite was a flaming success. The food was exceptional: a real credit to the catering staff.
My reservations about Maureen being assessed on the Konar Suite were ill-conceived. They do not see medication as the only solution to mental illness or radical changes in the presentation of someone with dementia. It is refreshing to see such a compassionate approach to assessment.
Maureen has been traumatised by her experiences of the last seventeen days:
- Her current reality would reduce anyone to tears.
- She is very frightened.
- She is totally bewildered by being detained in an Acute Mental Health Unit.
- Her ordeal needs to come to an end sooner rather than later.
I have asked to meet with her Consultant this morning.
Some might fear that staff from NAViGO have lost the plot: tonight they are holding a Bonfire Party for patients on the Konar Suite – an Acute Mental Health Unit. Little wonder they continue to win national acclaim for their radical approach to mental health.
The ‘Bonfire Lady’ as I have christened the organiser of this initiative will happily pay up on a wager I had with her yesterday. I bet her 10 pence that I could get the Manager of the Big Red Warehouse to donate some sparklers and he did – 5 packets!
Maureen is keen to get home as quickly as possible and my discussions with staff are ongoing on this front. Unfortunately, they are somewhat hidebound by the Mental Capacity Act. However, I know that staff are not just paying lip service to Maureen’s concerns and where there’s a will I’m sure we will find a way
Maureen’s period of assessment has now been completed. Her Consultant has concluded that no medication is needed at the moment and her fluctuating presentation is to be expected. The Best Interest meeting that is scheduled for next Friday will determine her future care and accommodation.
It would be pointless to harp on about the delays and duplication under the Mental Capacity Act that will delay Maureen’s departure from in the Konar Suite. I made the point yesterday that this is another example of the law becoming an ass.
I could waste a lot of energy attempting to speed up Maureen’s homecoming but it would be exhausting. Following advice from a number of quarters, I am going to use the next ten days or so as a Respite Break. This will set the scene for how I intend to prevent Carer Breakdown in the future.
I have already made it clear to Social Services that I will be taking regular Respite Breaks. From now on my shift pattern will be four weeks on, one week off. With the proviso that two weeks off may be necessary on occasions. I have already discussed the viability of these arrangements with Alderlea Care Home. We have talked about how this might pan out, along with Maureen attending for Day Care on Monday’s.
Sincere thanks to two of my cyber friends: Leah Bisiani
and Tracey Maxfield
for their patience in helping me to see that an exhausted Care Partner is on a very dangerous path indeed!
Maureen’s reality was palpable yesterday. Even one of my One Pot Specials made little impact on being surrounded by Chinese people who have taken over her life. She can’t understand most of them; as they shout out their instructions to her. None of them are friendly and she doesn’t understand why they don’t go back to their own country to find work.
I decided to flag up Maureen’s reality to a member of staff. This also gave me an opportunity to clarify the nature of today’s meeting and what might lay ahead. When I returned to Maureen she was listening to Cat Woman, as we later christened her, wax lyrical about her pet. This gave me an opportunity for distraction as we both laughed about some people thinking their pets loved them. It also gave me an opportunity to tell Maureen how she is the most important person in my life despite my pleasure from watching wild animals in our garden.
Unfortunately, the wifi signal is poor in Konar. That means we are not able to indulge in one of our daily pleasures. When I got home I put Wille and Keith on YouTube to remind myself how fortunate I am – we still have it all!
With the approval of staff on the Konar Suite, I decided to take ‘Sunday Lunch’ in for Maureen yesterday. The look on her face when she saw sprouts and roast parsnips on her plate was a delight. She thoroughly enjoyed her meal and dipped into the in-house menu for her sweet. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t totally sure who I was because I had served up one of her favourite meals.
I’m going to take in another one of Maureen’s favourites today – a One Pot Special. Sprouts will again be in the mix, as that wife of mine loves them. I’m hoping that showing her that someone remembers her preferences will provide reassurance.
Steady progress is being made on the personal care front and Maureen is getting used to changing her clothes. Staff on the Konar Suite have been really successful at easing her out of her old favourites into some newer gear. It is lovely to see her in different outfits and further options will be in her wardrobe today.
I’m hoping that we will have another pre-lunch walk in the garden this morning. Fresh air has always been nectar to Maureen!
I became very concerned when I visited Maureen yesterday morning. It didn’t worry when she told me she was waiting to tell her Aunty that she had dropped her son at school. She was clearly delighted that she had solved the heating problems in the school with a friendly chat with the caretaker. Maureen was time-traveling; talking about something that could have happened over fifty years ago. What concerned me was how she was feeling about being on the Konar Suite.
Maureen told me in a number of ways that she felt she was being treated as if she was stupid. She said she was absolutely fed up of being told what to do: when to change her clothes, how to dress when to take her tablets etc. To an extent, this is a familiar tale that is sometimes repeated when she is at home. However, what concerned me was her feelings that she would have to stay in the hospital forever if she didn’t toe the line.
I thought it was important staff for on Konar to hear her concerns. Their response was impressive with a Nurse hearing her concerns who then asked the Ward Consultant to pop in for a chat. This gave Maureen a chance to vent her concerns and although we heard ‘they are getting to know her’ and ‘nobody likes being in hospital’ I’m optimistic they will take her concerns on board.
Maureen contends that she has done nothing wrong and cannot understand why she is being detained. She accepts that she has problems with recollecting recent events but doesn’t consider she is a danger to the general public. I’m not sure that she has grasped that the Consultant is going to put his Treatment Plan before us on Friday. She just wants to go home and get on with her life. Unfortunately, it is not going to be quite that simple and my understanding is that the process for discharge from Konar to wherever will take some time.
I have decided to stay in Coventry a while longer. I want to see if I can bring about some changes in my mum’s Care Home and my brother’s Nursing Home.
I will pop in to see my mum again this morning. She was rather sleepy when I called in to see her yesterday. When she woke she asked me to give her a kiss and told me she loved me. She also asked me where Maureen was and then she amazed me by asking where Esme was – my youngest daughter.
When I call in this morning we are going dancing. I know if I call up Glen Miller, Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole on my Lap Top mum’s feet will be tapping. I hope she is able to close her eyes and remember dancing the slow foxtrot with dad: they would have got a Ten from Len!
After lunch, I’m taking the music theme to my brother. He gave me lots of beautiful smiles yesterday as he sat alone in the dining room. I didn’t have my dancing partner with me so we couldn’t show him our attempts to remind him he was one of the best jivers in Coventry. Once I get the right music on this morning I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of the carers partners him: Len would hold up a Ten if my brother gets out of his chair.
The news from Konar this morning is exceptional. Maureen sang along last night when Alfie Boa was on the TV: they get a Ten from Me. I’ve told them they can’t keep her as I really miss her lovely singing in the morning.
Posted at 5 am
Today’s lesson from Dekyong is: ‘there is no enemy other than our delusions:’
I’m sending myself to Coventry shortly. It will be lovely to be with my mum and brother again and see how things are going in their Care Homes. If things go well I hope to have lunch with my eldest daughter, her husband, and her beautiful daughters. With luck, I might even spend time with my elder sister and her husband in the evening. I think my little sister is in Rome so I’m unlikely to catch up with her today.