We recently featured rather unexpectedly as the headline story on Homecare.co.uk, one of the most trusted sources of information for the Care Sector.
The story was about our relationship with one of our longest standing clients, a truly inspirational lady and one we are privileged to know and who’s life we are an intrinsic part of.
Next month will be our 12 month anniversary and for us to receive such feedback on the impact we have had to people like Ann, is our proudest achievement to date and one we will be hard pushed to improve on.
Anyway, the story is below along with a link to the Homecare.co.uk website, please take teh time to read and enjoy, we certainly did!
When you have youth on your side and are in good health, the idea of being cared for and dependent on other people doesn’t even enter your head. Ann Lawton from Sefton in Merseyside reveals what it is like when you lose your independence and your wellbeing and health are determined by the kind of care you receive.
She says: “We are all hearing about how much longer we’re living and will at some point need extra care and I wondered if people had thought through what if it suddenly happened to them. Unfortunately it did happen to me.”
Ann has had a progressive neurological condition called dystonia since the age of 10, however she has never let it hold her back and says: “Until four years ago I had married, travelled a lot, have a nice home and with time, and a stubborn independent nature, I adapted and life was good although getting more difficult with time. Then my husband became ill and had to go into a care home and I was assessed and assigned a home care agency.”
Sadly, she adds, “as with all companies, some are good and others leave a lot to be desired and I’ve had experiences of both so I hope my story will help give others some pointers if and when they have to make a life changing decision.
“What I am saying next isn’t meant to frighten people but hopefully give both sides of how a care company can be run excellently from the top to bottom, and you can retain an enjoyable life, or you may end up with one who calls itself a care provider but doesn’t care!”
Life ‘became a battle’
Unfortunately, the next three years for Ann became “very distressing” and life “became a battle as I felt so alone and life changed dramatically”.
She was introduced to a friendly but not very communicative lady who after a short chat told her she was her coordinator and left her with a care plan.
The care plan stated her needs and how much time would be allocated to each task of caring for her.
“At first it wasn’t too bad as I only needed a little help with dressing and personal care, but nothing had prepared me for the emotional and ultimately physical toll of losing control over who walked into my home and when.”
Ann soon found that the times allowed for her needs were “insufficient and care workers were either late and rushed.
‘I felt almost violated’
“My home wasn’t as tidy or as clean always as I would have liked. Things weren’t put away or just left and I know this sounds weird but I felt almost violated .
“Mostly they didn’t have time do basic jobs and there was no continuity of carers. This meant I had to tell a carer what and where to do it if they were new to me. They had poor or no training, so most of the time it wasn’t their fault.
“At this point I must say that a lot of them were good, caring people who were badly paid, rushed and had no support from their supervisors and managers.
“We tried various meetings with agencies involved in my care trying to improve my situation with the company but things kept reverting back.”
Ann admits that she often felt as if her care workers didn’t want to be with her and wonders if they felt no one appreciated them or whether they were just not bothered.
After three years, she found she needed palliative care and discussed her options with her GP, who recommended Right at Home (Sefton).
“Unknown to me, my doctor contacted Shirley, the manager of Right at Home and told her of my problems. Shirley soon rang me and asked if I would like her to come and she would tell me all about their ethos and how they operated and answer any queries or questions I had.
‘I thought all my Christmases had come at once’
“Instantly on her arrival I felt comfortable. and relaxed. As she explained how they wanted to focus on my needs and generally make my life easier by relaxing time constraints, keeping to times, removing all the problems I had struggled with before with the other company, I thought all my Christmases had come at once.”
Right at Home also stood out as none of its care workers are allowed to do a procedure or use any equipment without being fully trained and for its continuity of care.
Most importantly, according to Ann, “I felt respect for myself, my home and my dignity was there”.
Since using Right at Home, Ann has “gone from strength to strength not only physically but I am not anxious anymore, enjoying life more and look forward to my carers coming”.
Her advice to people looking for care, is ask for help and research all you can. “There are good care companies available and I’m sure you will find one.”
Jonathan Beckett, managing director of Right at Home, said: “From the minute, registered manager Shirley Wright, met Ann and realised just how desperate her situation was, she knew we had to do all we could to take on this package of care and transform what had gone before.
“Shirley was adamant we could make a difference and challenged us to demonstrate exactly what outstanding care looks like, we knew as a team we could enable Ann to enjoy life again and get back to her positive, inspirational self which she has proven time and time again throughout her life.
“We are pleased to say that we have delivered on all fronts and Ann has flourished as a result, she really is a role model for us all and we feel blessed to be able to know and care for her. To hear how positively Ann talks about our team is the reason we are in this industry.”