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Hints and tips on using a care package please

(17 Posts)

It's not for an elderly parent, I am helping my elderly neighbour (and his relatives, he has no children) smile and would love some advice from others who have been there/got the t shirt. And a couple of questions.

OK, my very elderly neighbour, 'Bob' is not in great shape, pretty much housebound with home oxygen and other problems, can walk a tiny bit. Until very recently was looked after by his wife, but she is now in hospital critically ill and unlikely to come home.

He has just started a care package with carers 4 x daily and they are in an assessment phase at the moment - to decide long term care at some point in next few weeks (possibly continued home care, possible for a care home)

At the moment the carers are needing to spend about 1.5 hrs in am, 1 hr at bedtime, and half an hour each at lunch and tea. - I suspect they will feel this is not feasible for homecare and may tip the balance towards placement - what do you think?

I have set up for Nomad packs for his meds, and ordered some other supplies for him, but with him being alone I wondered if it would be useful to have some sort of 'communication book' in the house, for carers or relatives/friends to leave notes for each other in - whether its - he needs some bread, or chemist will come at 10am, or whatever, do you think this is a good idea?

Any other tips or suggestions to help things run smoothly much appreciated

AgentProvocateur Thu 23-Aug-12 22:31:39

When my granny had home carers, there was a book where they all signed in and out, noted any medicine given etc etc. From time to time a carer wouldn't appear, and the book was the only way of us, the family, knowing that she'd missed a meal or a pill, so I'd say it was essential.

I think that 3.5 hours a day is feasible for home care - placement would be much dearer and a last resort. Be aware though that the council will very soon look at reducing the hours.

It would be a good idea to get lots of M&S ready meals and a microwave, if he hasn't got one. The half hour slot for meals isn't really enough to make something, eat it and wash up. Some of the less caring carers (who you'll no doubt come across) left without checking that my granny had eaten her meal, or else rushed her so that they could go onto their next appointment. They are put under a lot of pressure, and some councils don't take travelling time into account. It must be a hugely stressful job.

Make sure that you (or someone else nearby) has a spare key, and that the carers know where it is. Sometimes they came, couldn't get in, and went away.

I am in charge of the spare key at the moment and there is a PIN number controlled box for one getting fitted next week. The carers do have a folder to write in, it's just all the other stuff we need to pass on that I am a bit stuck with - ended up leaving a massive note on a scrap of paper there today!

I have been able to help a lot for the last week but now have my two under sixes back home so I will have to cut back a little.

It's just that his wife did pretty much everything for him so we are working out as we go along stuff like reducing the milk deliveries, how to order more catheter bags from some random supplier we have to use rather than on a prescription, it's all a bit 'bitty' without any one person in charge of sorting everything I suppose. I have been taking the lead a bit to start with but I can't long term and feel a bit guilty about it

Ready meals/microwave - check.

And god only knows who sorts out the bills/paperwork, but I can't get into that too.

CMOTDibbler Fri 24-Aug-12 16:41:17

A cheaper alternative to M&S meals is Wiltshire Farm Foods who deliver to the door.

With meds, you can get the pharmacy to supply them already packed in blisters like the Medisure - this has made a huge difference to my parents

You need to talk to his social worker and say that you can't take responsibility long term - he needs an advocate to help sort all these things out

I organised the meds to come in nomad blister packs yesterday grin I may see if AgeUK or somewhere has advice to check if I missed anything.

His relatives are getting the ready meals and I suggested wiltshire already, I did work as a home help but it was 17/ 18yrs ago now so am rusty!

I have bought a large cheap diary today for everyone to leave messages in, he is totally with it but very deaf.

Thanks smile

ninjanurse Fri 24-Aug-12 18:10:17

The other thing that may be a good idea, is an alarm button that he wears round his neck, if he hasnt got one of these already. Then if he has a fall or something, he can press the button and your or the relatives would be alerted to go into him.

gingeroots Fri 24-Aug-12 18:25:59

MMWA - he is so lucky to have you as a neighbour !

Sounds like you're really on top of everything .IME there are always lots of little details that make up the whole .

I agree that 3.5 hours a day seems feasible .

Good luck with the carers ,can often go a bit skewiff on BHols etc .

PS Try and get out of hours phone numbers for carers agency ,oxygen etc .

YY he is getting a careline/alarm button thing but not sure when, I didn't organise that.

I think we have covered the main things at least. Just so tricky because his DW sorted everything before so he was well looked after but he doesn't know many of the details himself.

smile Just a little update. His DW has made a pretty good recovery! Still in hospital though.

Carers, Nomad packs, careline and keysafe all in place and ticking over nicely.

Thanks for all the suggestions though

gingeroots Thu 13-Sep-12 18:36:18

ooh Nomad packs .
Googled this and can see = blister/dosette packs .
Can't "see" packs very well on line - who does them MMWA ?

Going to change pharmacy for mother and wondering about alternatives .

( SO angry with current pharmacy ,last straw and a complaint will be made now ,but that's another thread ...)

Ah yes I still call them Nomad packs but they are actually blister packs these days. old

Pretty much all pharmacies do them, as far as I know. You just need to speak to the pharmacy to arrange it. They are handy because you know exactly which doses have been taken, or not, less likely to have mistakes.

And if carers are helping, they can check too, they are often not allowed to 'administer' medication. So checking someone took the pills is fine, they are not allowed to pop the pills out of umpteen packets and say take this, and this... in case they were wrong.

Lifeisontheup Mon 17-Sep-12 07:17:41

Hi, coming to this thread a bit late so hope you're still around.
I work for the ambulance service so deal with the elderly in this situation quite a lot.
British lions run a scheme called message in a bottle which we find very useful.
It's really simple and is just a sticker which is put on the front door and then a small plastic container which is kept in the fridge, in this is a form with all the detail about the patient, name, DOB, list of meds, allergies, next of kin, medical conditions and any other pertinent info.
If you do get a message book (good idea btw) try and make sure it's kept with the care file. It's so much easier for us if we're called out in the night and all the info is in one place.
Also make sure that the emergency services have got the pin for the keysafe, they should have automatically but it does sometime slip through the net and only comes to light when access is needed and other key-holders are out or away.
You sound a wonderful neighbour, make sure you take care of yourself too, it's easy to take on too much.

Oh yes they have done the emergency info in the fridge thing smile It's all going ok for now - just waiting to see if his DW can come home.

ManifestingMingeHooHoosAgain Thu 18-Oct-12 22:37:36

Just wanted to update the thread, I'm the OP in my halloween costume.

His DW made a surprisingly good recovery and came home. But her lovely DH died sad So I am still helping, with her now. It has all been very sad though.

gingeroots Fri 19-Oct-12 18:06:54

Oh sad .

Thank goodness for his widow that there are people like you in the world .

And thank you for up date .

PenisColada Fri 19-Oct-12 18:15:55

Check the keysafe is the correct type as the ones that are not approved invalidate home insurance

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