A senior social worker for a local authority adults team writes…
I get in early and discuss a colleague’s difficult case, which has worsened over the weekend. A service user has been removed from a nursing home because the daughter-in-law, misguidedly in our view, believed she could manage her mother-in-law’s care more effectively at home.
Now, three days later, the daughter-in-law is pleading that we help her find another nursing home as she is finding her new caring role difficult. We agree a course of action and make what will be the first of several phone calls to other homes.
My hopes to catch up on paper work are, as ever, dashed when I receive a safeguarding referral from the son of a woman who alleges her engagement ring and her disabled parking badge have been taken by their carer. I alert the blue badge team and contact the agency.
It’s our twice-monthly team meeting. Keen not to let it disintegrate into a conversation about who used the last tea bag, I suggest we use it to discuss specific cases or where there have been any successes. After a slow start, the team starts sharing stories about recent casework. It feels cathartic and productive and everyone agrees it needs to become a permanent agenda item.
I attend a carers’ forum in a small room in a doctor’s surgery. There is a plentiful supply of coffee and everyone seems very friendly. I tell the group what sort of work we do and the support available to them via social services. On returning to the office I receive a call from a carer who attended the forum, asking me how he can access more support for his wife who he thinks has dementia. It is an emotional call and the man thanks me profusely. I feel very humble.
I spend the morning visiting an elderly man in respite where his wife placed him after she felt unable to continue caring for him. The staff are courteous and friendly. I joke with the wife that a good residential home can often be judged by the quality of the biscuits and this is confirmed by the arrival of a tea tray, laden with chocolate biscuits. The wife likes the home but it is expensive and I have to warn her that if we agreed to fund it permanently, there will probably be a high top-up, which she would need to pay.
I receive a call from the daughter of a service user, demanding to know why we “axed” her mother’s care package. I have spoken with this woman before and vividly recall her anger. I give her feedback from the most recent review but the daughter isn’t listening and tells me she’s going to call the community mental health team to get her mother hospitalised and then hangs up on me.