I am hoping Mother will be home from hospital early next week.
The hospital social worker is convinced she needs to go into a nursing home. She may be right, but she’s not coming up with the evidence.
Once again Mother has been assessed as being unable to perform simple tasks; to walk; to understand instructions.
I asked to be at the assessment. It was carried out without me. I pointed out that I had stayed East especially to attend. Another assessment was arranged.
In conversation on the ‘phone I had already underlined the importance of giving short clear instructions; making tasks ‘real’; not asking questions; giving Mother space.
“Do you want to go home?” asked the OT, “You need to show us you can stand up if you do.”
Obviously there was a great deal wrong with this approach, but I limited myself to saying, “That won’t work”.
I pointed out that Mother was lying down and they were asking her to swing her legs off the bed. It was not something she’d do at home. The bed was extremely high. She didn’t know why she was being asked to sit up. She was cold and tired and for the want of a good reason, it seemed perfectly sensible to refuse and go back to sleep.
The aim was to see if she would transfer from the too high bed to a wheelchair placed out of her sight in a space I knew she would find claustrophobic.
The professionals wanted to stick with their plan, so I suggested moving the wheelchair to where she could see it so at least the nature of the task would become clear to her.
We had lift off. Mother struggled into a sitting position and swung her legs over the side of the bed. Then took fright at the distance to the floor which looked slippery and shiny.
The professionals crowded round her. Mother recoiled in fear, her eyes huge behind her glasses.
I’d told staff the previous day that this approach scared her and they had visibly bristled, telling me that was the way to help. I told these professionals the same thing. They exchanged glances but backed as far away as the curtain would allow. Mother advanced once more to the edge of the bed.
I shan’t bore you with all the details, but the assessment of her capabilities was a sham. She was asked to stand up from a chair where the arms were almost at chin height so she could not get leverage. She was repeatedly asked questions.
One of the professionals at least had the grace to say that it had been interesting to see how Mother responded when tasks were clear and they dropped the questions.
Not so the social worker. She reported to me that Mother had not been able to perform the tasks. I pointed out that the tasks had not been appropriate, and in my view, were unhelpful. She said it was difficult; there was always room for improvement, but in her view Mother needed to go to a care home.
And that’s what it was – her view. She had nothing to back it up with. No evidence other than the sham assessment.
Three times the hospital’s assessments have pointed Mother in the direction of a care home, and each time the results of those assessments have been proved wrong as soon as she has reached home.
Surely, by now, someone should be working out that as the assessments are consistently giving a false picture, it is they that need to be adapted, rather than asking a ninety-one-year-old living with dementia to adapt to them.