Social Worker Tracey Green Describes how our service is person-centred and promotes choice

Tracey Green had to find a nursing home for her own father. She explains how challenging this was and found our service was “person-centred” and supportive of choice

“It all happened so quickly. At the end of September, Dad and I had gone together for one of his medical appointments. We joked and laughed together, he was still managing well at home, cooking his own meals. Then, in the space of five or six weeks, his whole world changed.

Dad ended up in hospital with a huge urine infection and was diagnosed with vascular dementia. While he was in hospital, I explored every option, including live-in care to see whether he might be able to return to his own home with a substantial amount of support. I am a social worker and although my professional background means I have some understanding of the issues and systems involved, nothing prepares you for having to place your own parent in a nursing home. It is personal and feels very different. Also, you have no experience because you have not done it before and you know how vital it is to get it right.

I was trying to sort out power of attorney for my father, clearing and organising his home as well as trying to consider care for him. You are hit with a lot of different information and find there are suddenly 101 things you need to know about. I was on my knees when I got a phone call from Leanne, who introduced herself as an adviser for CHS Healthcare.

I must say that from the first phone call she has been absolutely wonderful – very supportive, listened to our requests, was very knowledgeable about the various homes and really proactive in getting assessments organised and then following up with each home. Leanne had obviously read the referral information on my father, but also asked me questions about his personality to gain a fuller picture to try and match him to the most appropriate facility. It made the search feel more personal about him, the person, and not just about finding a place that could deal with his diagnosis.

Leanne gave me a shortlist of three nursing homes that she felt would best suit Dad. I asked her what would happen if I didn’t like any of them. She explained: we would just start again. I was conscious of the pressure on hospital beds, but Leanne was the one person who made me feel I had a choice. It felt as if Leanne was in our corner, so to speak; to support us and to give us the time to make this huge decision. She had real insight, explaining the different approaches each nursing home had to, for example, aspects of dementia and knew their overall resident mix.

Luckily, we liked two homes that we thought dad would also like, so it was just a case of choosing which would be most easily accessible for family and friends, so he has as many visitors as possible. Again, Leanne listened to our deliberations, offered advice when asked and was very patient. She communicated with all the homes on our behalf both before and after the visits, even on a Saturday which was most impressive!

My father has moved into his new home and settled in really well; his room is comfortable and clean, and the staff are nice. On one of my first visits, there was a musical activity and I asked whether he had been singing. He replied: “I’m not sure you could describe it as that.” It was very much his humour: brilliant and very dry.

I am so grateful for the support we received from Leanne. She was a godsend at a very difficult, horrible time. As a social worker, I did have some knowledge and understanding of this general area, but I certainly needed the support, co-ordination and insight of this service. For people without a professional background in this field, it must be essential. I also recognise what an excellent service this is: my father was treated as a unique person, not just a patient with medical needs and we were given very good and person-centred choices for his care.”

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