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Bed blocking in hospitals

(465 Posts)
SummitLove Sun 29-Jan-17 10:53:00

AIBU to think that actually a lot of this situation is being caused by families taking no, or very little responsibility, in caring for their elderly relatives?

Are we, as a society, now in a situation where many of us our so entitled we just expect social services or the health services to provide everything? Seems to have been a huge shift from families being involved in care to families expecting others to provide care for elderly relatives.

Mooching over this thought today and would love to hear responses from both sides.

Have three elderly people near us (one couple and one single) that we help out as their families appear to have washed their hands of them. They rarely visit, don't organise simple things like online shopping, or come and help with trimming the hedges in the summer. Honestly, it's been so cold these past few days that I would have expected someone to have called or check in on them.

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Sun 29-Jan-17 10:54:54

It depends - just because someone is elderly doesn't mean they weren't a complete dick to their family when younger.

SummitLove Sun 29-Jan-17 10:57:49

Hedgehog So the payback is to be a complete dick to them when they are elderly, and as a knock on consequence contribute to a huge negative issue within our society which is contributing to bringing services to their knees?

MadHattersWineParty Sun 29-Jan-17 10:59:28

I won't be helping out my mum when she's old and infirm.

She's been horrible to me my whole life, I can only imagine she'll be crueller when she's older under the guise of 'speaking her mind'. A sweet little old lady she will not be.

She has also made no provision for herself. No pension to speak of, dips in and out of work when she feels like it, spent all the money she had on bad property investments, taken out huge loans and run up credit card debt. She's not married to her patient of 16 years so no security there. If she thinks I'll welcome her with open arms when she can't look after herself she's deluded. Sorry if that sounds cruel but it's the truth.

Services to old people have also been cut to fuck- meals on wheels, day centres, care-home funding, daily carers etc etc. Not the fault of the families.

MadHattersWineParty Sun 29-Jan-17 11:00:30

*partner. Not patient blush

Soubriquet Sun 29-Jan-17 11:00:49

It's not that easy with an abusive family member Summit

Why should someone have to take care of their family member when they badly abused them?

Coldhandscoldheart Sun 29-Jan-17 11:01:24

Other things you need to factor in - people often live much farther apart than they used to - I can't just pop in on my parents 500miles away.
- this is the sort of thing that traditionally fell to women (still does actually) and more and more women work full time and have long commutes, limiting time they have available for caring. Or they have other caring responsibilities to add in. You can only do so much.

GlitterGlue Sun 29-Jan-17 11:01:49

A lot of people live some distance from family so can't just pop in. And may also have a young family of their own.

You don't know what contact they have with their families. They may ring every day. They may have tried to organise shopping etc and been knocked back.

And let's not forget that people live significantly longer these days. 50 plus years ago youwould have have been taking care of grandad for a short while - it probably wouldn't have been 10 years plus of taking care of an increasing frail and dependent person. Most people (let's face it, women) can't afford to stop working for years to provide round the clock care to an elderly relative.

SummitLove Sun 29-Jan-17 11:02:57

Why should someone have to take care of their family member when they badly abused them?

They shouldn't. That's a perfect example that goes against what I am saying.

But I don't think every elderly person in this situation has been abusive. I think maybe the minority have?

KellyBoo800 Sun 29-Jan-17 11:03:31

Why should someone have to take care of their family member when they badly abused them?

Exactly this.

And I think that the majority of people who had loving parents and are able to care for them in their old age do so until they get too sick to be cared for at home. Those who don't will often have a good reason - such as the above, or a lack of resources.

GlitterGlue Sun 29-Jan-17 11:04:35

People can do more to help themselves as they age. Move to a more suitable property in a more suitable location. Many are reluctant to make changes until it hits crisis point and they can't manage a large property, the 10 mile drive to the nearest shop etc.

MadHattersWineParty Sun 29-Jan-17 11:04:39

Well the point is Summit is that you simply can't judge the situation unless you know the individual circumstances.

SummitLove Sun 29-Jan-17 11:04:58

Actually glitter I do know exactly what contact they have - both sides openly tell me. So this isn't based on assumptions.

EggnogChai Sun 29-Jan-17 11:07:08

Because most people live further away and can't afford to either quit their job or reduce their hours for years to care for an elderly relative? Never mind the fact that caring for a family member usually falls to the women.

Soubriquet Sun 29-Jan-17 11:07:21

Sometimes the family member is too proud to accept help too

My nan for example

She is broke. Like unable to pay her rent broke.

We have offered her to move in here even though it will be tight.

She has refused because she wants her independence and dignity.

That's entirely her choice but it's hard when you hear how she's feeding her animals and not herself.

She won't get cheaper animal food either

I sent her home the other day with food out of my cupboards and she wasn't too happy because she found it embarrassing and a bit insulting

I can't afford to do this every week and I refuse to give her money where she goes and spends it on fags instead of food

lalalalyra Sun 29-Jan-17 11:08:09

The reason less people help their elderly relatives is because they are working. My Nana looked after her parents and her PIL because when they were elderly her kids were grown and she didn't work. When I'm in my 80's I expect that my kids will still be in full time employment because they'll need to be.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Sun 29-Jan-17 11:08:48

Are we, as a society, now in a situation where many of us our so entitled we just expect social services or the health services to provide everything? Seems to have been a huge shift from families being involved in care to families expecting others to provide care for elderly relatives.

It's got nothing to do with being entitled (fucking hate that word) and everything to do with the nature of society today. Most people need to work to live. Not much time left over to care for elderly relatives when you're putting in 40 hour weeks and then going home to car for your own family. Add to that the fact that many people live far away from relatives, in fact it's often said on here that if you can't afford to live close to family then tough, you'll have to move, this is a consequence of that.

If my grandparents got taken into hospital I would do what I could but they live far away and I can't drop everything to care for them.

littleblackno Sun 29-Jan-17 11:09:27

I totally disagree, as people are living longer and with more complex health conditions it's hard for families to manage.
Elderly people with advanced dementia are living in their own homes for longer. Often their children are retired with their own health problems and other extended family have jobs/ young children/ don't live anywhere nearby.

The bed blocking is not because families are any less able/ willing to help. It's because people are living longer and the nhs and social care systems are totally underfunded to deal with this.

I've worked with many families who want to support their relatives but they are physically/ practically unable to do so. As that relative is up wandering around the streets all times of the day and night or needs 2 people to reposition them every 2 hours.
Bed blocking is rarely because a relative won't help out with shopping or paying bills it is often because complex needs require careful management at home.

BarbarianMum Sun 29-Jan-17 11:09:54

Yes YABU

Even if you do a lot of care for elderly relatives it is still easy to find yourself in a situation where they need pretty much constant care following a period of ill health. Not many of have the luxury of enough time to visit 4 times a day, even if we live close enough and are so inclined. Or you get the elderly person who is desperate to go home claiming that they don't fall (but you know they do) or they can prepare meals for themselves, or wash themselves, or get to the shops themselves, when you know they can't. Then they get offered a totally inadequate care package which you know will leave them vulnerable, so you refuse to have them home. Or they don't want carers because "my daughter will do it all" but she can't.

They used to have convalescent homes for people who were to ill to be at home but not so I'll they needed hospital. But these have disappeared.

PenelopeParmesan Sun 29-Jan-17 11:10:12

No. It's not about family not helping.

It's about persistent under investment in social care, and lack of access and funding to suitable community placements.

It's a red herring.

If someone needs nursing care, being able to pop in and help with a bit of cleaning is no use, they need nursing.

Gardencentregroupie Sun 29-Jan-17 11:10:49

An awful lot of elderly people have very complex needs that are full time and more jobs to meet. An awful lot of people are working later and later in life as retirement age gets pushed back further and further. In so many cases it would require someone in their late 50s, not as fit as before, still going to work, then also taking care of someone who needs lifting into the bath and on the toilet and maybe a complex regime of meds and maybe even dementia meaning they're sometimes confused or even aggressive. How can one person cope with all of that?

HunterHearstHelmsley Sun 29-Jan-17 11:11:18

I can't look after elderly relatives because I work long hours. In order to care for them I would have to give up my job. Then what?

Floralnomad Sun 29-Jan-17 11:12:19

Nobody is obliged to care for elderly relatives but , as an ex nurse, I believe one of the main reasons for bed blocking in acute wards is that over the years the NHS has closed the small cottage hospitals / mental health units which is where most of these patients would have been moved to . That said you would be amazed how common it was for an elderly person to be admitted for something quite simple that only required a one or two day stay and for you to then discover that the entire family support unit had booked 2 weeks in Spain and were leaving the following morning .

sleepy16 Sun 29-Jan-17 11:13:12

Yes I need to help the mother who let her boyfriend beat the shit out of me when I was 7 years old.
Lock me in my room because I had a disability and couldn't catch up with them.
Who ran off and left me home alone for nearly a week when I was 11, who quite frankly couldn't give a flying shit about me!
Are you serous that now I should look after her!
Yes I made sure she is well cared for (she is in a care home now) as quite frankly I am NOT the same person as she is.
But no way would I have had her in my home.

FormerlyFrikadela01 Sun 29-Jan-17 11:14:23

People can do more to help themselves as they age. Move to a more suitable property in a more suitable location. Many are reluctant to make changes until it hits crisis point and they can't manage a large property, the 10 mile drive to the nearest shop etc.

This is a really good point. I've worked in elderly healthcare and people do not help their own situation by getting help when they need it rather than waiting for crisis.

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