Report review: Moving Stories: The Impact of Admission into a Care Home on Residents’ Partners

Moving Stories: The Impact of Admission into a Care Home on Residents’ Partners
Alison Clarke and Les Bright, Relatives and Residents Association
ISBN 190021606X,


This important report transported me back to the 1990s when I worked in social care regulation, writes Graham Hopkins. A care home’s relatives group invited me along to its first meetings. Most members had a parent in the home, but one, let’s call him Ernie, had his wife there.

He visited every day. Everyone liked him: a tonic about the place and a treasure at fundraising. But, like those surveyed in Clarke and Bright’s report, he felt guilt, resignation, relief and sadness. And fear. After all, was he next?

Ernie pointed out some things that didn’t seem right to him. The very same things that, 13 years on, this report highlights.

Ernie’s wife was self-funding and he had no idea what to do, expect or look for. As the authors say: “How do you know to ask for a continence plan if you don’t know that continence planning exists?”

There was no assessment. He had to pay weekly top-ups to the fees and for extras – haircuts, toiletries and so on. He had signed their joint capital over to his wife. Not terribly fair, he thought.

The authors agree: “It’s not fair,” they say, “that people are denied help because they have savings”. Nor is it fair that “partners are paying money they cannot afford for their loved one’s care”.

One afternoon I saw Ernie leaving the home, whistling as he left. He got into his car and sighed deeply. He then sobbed. Pulling himself together he drove away – whistling once more.

I promised to do my best for Ernie and the other relatives. Ernie collared me: “Finding out your best is not good enough can be a heavy cross to bear.” He then cheerfully flogged me some raffle tickets.

Graham Hopkins is practice editor of Community Care

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