Homecare provider, Right at Home, offers a managed live-in service as an alternative to residential care. One Client, June, lives with Lewy body dementia and macular degeneration. Having been bed-bound for 11 weeks, she soon rediscovered the joy of dancing in her husband’s arms again.
June had been admitted to hospital with pancreatitis, spending a total of eleven weeks away from home. Under-staffed, and unable to deal with June’s complex medical needs, she was mostly left alone, confined to her bed on the ward, and as a result, became incontinent and unresponsive.
For around five years, June has been living with Lewy bodies dementia – the third most common cause of dementia in the UK. Lewy bodies dementia is a progressive illness, whereby symptoms are similar to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and include tremors, unsteadiness and increased falls, visual hallucinations and delusions. June also suffers with macular degeneration in her eyes, so struggled with her peripheral vision.
June’s husband, Phil, was informed of June’s deterioration due to her being bed-bound. He was told any future care would need to be delivered to her in bed, should she go home.
But, Phil refused to accept his wife was bed-bound. When he spent time with her, she regularly asked him to help her get out of bed. He was convinced June had only become incontinent as a result of a lack of nursing staff on the ward. With no one available to help her to the toilet when she needed it, June was left with little choice in the matter. He resolved to bring her home, believing his wife would regain her mobility and strength, if she had the right support.
Prior to being hospitalised, June and Phil were regular visitors to Right at Home’s Sunflower Cafe in Farnham. A support group for people living with dementia and their carers, run by Right at Home Guildford, Farnham and Farnborough’s Registered Manager, Sara Woodley.
In his search for the right solution for his wife, Phil spoke with Sara. He shared his uncertainties around caring for June in bed, as well as his concerns, following the advice she would need four double-up care calls of 30-45mins a day to wash, roll and change June’s continence pad. He was worried this would not be enough support to help June enjoy life again.
Sara suggested June would benefit from two weeks’ live-in respite care, to help adjust to the changes of coming home. She believed this would be the strongest chance for June to regain confidence in life. It would also give Phil time to make care arrangements for the future. Phil agreed, even though he knew he would need to find the funds for his wife’s care, 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 themselves, and managed to persuade them to trial a live-in care package for two weeks.
A few days later, June came home. Natasha, with help from Phil, was able to help June out of bed and using the bathroom, supported by her gliding commode. June was given a full wash, used the toilet and changed into fresh night clothes. Although June was initially unresponsive, this was already more than Phil had been told she could do.
The following day, Natasha introduced June to her live-in carer, Catalina. Natasha and Catalina followed the same routine as the day before, assisting June into the bathroom. June was more responsive already, even brushing her own teeth.
As the days progressed, June regained some of her strength. She started sitting-up, unaided, and standing, with lots of support. Before long, she only needed to lightly hold on to someone’s hand while on her feet. Then she started to move, whilst standing. June spent more-and-more time away from her bed, sitting at the table for meals, or in her easy chair with her feet up.
The most precious moment was when June and Phil started dancing, rocking gently from side-to-side, in each other’s arms.
Enjoying life, again
June now has two 1hr care calls a day to assist her with personal care in the morning and the evening. June was fortunate to have a husband who really knew her and was determined to have her back home, where he knew she would thrive. With time and people who patiently supported her, he succeeded in enabling June to regain her strength and to enjoy life with her family at home.