June was bed bound and stuck in hospital without a respite care package to allow her home. This is the story of how respite live in care transformed the lives of June and Phil.
June has been living with Lewy body dementia for around five years and also has macular degeneration so her peripheral vision is not always very good.
She and her husband are regular visitors to the Right at Home Sunflower Cafe in Farnham which is a support group for people living with dementia and their carers, run by our Registered Manager Sara Woodley.
Bed bound and in hospital
June had been admitted to hospital with pancreatitis and kept in the surgical ward where the nurses appeared to be too short-staffed to cope with her complex needs. She was kept in bed almost the whole time she was in hospital, receiving all her care in bed and became incontinent and unresponsive. By this time, June had been in hospital for eleven weeks.
June’s husband Phil was told that she was bed bound and would need all care to be delivered in bed if she were to come home. Phil refused to accept that June was bed bound as she was regularly asking to get out of bed. He was convinced that the only reason June was incontinent was because there were not enough nurses to help her to the toilet when she needed it, so she had no choice but to go in her bed. Phil was determined to get June home and was convinced that, with the right support, she would regain some of her strength and mobility.
Phil was advised that June would need four double up care calls of 30-45mins a day to wash, roll and change June’s pad but social services were struggling to find the double up visits they said she needed in order to come home.
Finding the right solution for care at home
At this point Phil contacted Sara. He shared his uncertainty about caring for June in bed and his concern that even if social services did manage to arrange the double up calls, 30-45min calls would not be enough and would not give June the support she needed. Sara suggested that June would benefit from two weeks’ live in respite care to help adjust to the changes of coming home and to give her the best possible chance of re-ablement. It would also give Phil time to make care arrangements for the future.
Phil agreed with this idea but social services would only fund a care package of four double up calls so he resigned himself to finding funds to pay for it himself. Sara and Right at Home Live-in Care Manager, Natasha visited June and Phil to complete a care needs assessment and put together a live in care plan. Sara kept in contact with the hospital discharge team and social services, who had been unable to source a double up package, and managed to persuade them to trial a live in care package for two weeks.
Leaving hospital and coming home
A few days later, June came home. Natasha carried out the first care visit and, with help from Phil, they got June up and into the bathroom with the use of her gliding commode. June was given a full wash, used the toilet and changed into fresh night clothes. Phil and Natasha then assisted June back to bed. Although June was quite unresponsive, this was already more than Phil had been told she could do.
The following day, Natasha introduced the live in carer, Catalina. Natasha and Catalina assisted June onto her commode and into the bathroom. They gave her a full wash and helped her dress for the day. June was more responsive already and was able to brush her own teeth.
Getting mobile again
As the days went by, June regained some of her strength. She started sitting up by herself, then standing with lots of support and before long, June just needed to lightly hold someone’s hand while on her feet. June started to move when she was standing, turning to transfer onto chairs, and even had a little dance with Phil, rocking herself from side to side. June started to spend more and more time out of bed and would sit at the table for meals or in her easy chair with her feet up. The transformation was huge.
After just seven days, June started walking, at first with lots of help. But she ventured a little further every day and by the end of the week she could walk from her bedroom to the bathroom, assist with washing herself and use the toilet regularly without any accidents.
Enjoying life back home
June now has two 1hr care calls a day to assist with personal care in the morning and the evening. June was very fortunate to have her husband who was determined to have her home and who had the time and the patience to help her regain her strength and enjoy a good quality of life with her family at home.
Sara met up with a representative of the hospital discharge team at June’s house for a review, where they agreed that the care solution to assist June’s move from hospital to home had been a great success.
Right at Home offers both respite live in care and long term live in care as an alternative to a care home. Live in care can work really well for someone who needs a more flexible package of care with ad hoc support available throughout the day. And, as June and Phil’s story shows, respite live in care can be the perfect solution when coming home from a stay in hospital.