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Contacting parents' GP etc

(16 Posts)
maddywest Thu 26-Oct-17 10:01:15

Hi there. I'm at the beginning of the elderly parent journey and have been dipping into this board full of wise and supportive people. I'm sure I will be coming here increasingly over the next few months/years.A bit of background:

My Mum and Dad are both 85, Dad's in pretty good shape but mum is increasingly depressed and stays in the house because she is scared of falling. This has beeing developing for a few years now, she is often at the GP and has had referrals to community physio and mental health, social services assessment etc. She receives carer's allowance, Dad is registered as her carer (I think) but she is increasingly and vocally dissatisfied with what he does and would like someone to come in and take her for walks, or a drive - get her out of the house a bit more. She is going to ask social services about this, and has also phoned the community mental health nurse and is waiting for them to get back to her.

Mum and Dad complain that'noone is helping them', but they seem to be constantly at GP/hospital appointments etc so they are actually getting lots of help - but Mum is getting worse rather than better, but then she is quite frail and 85.

I'm 2.5 hours drive away in one direction, my brother similar in the opposite direction. We visit as much as we can, but obviously aren't there for the day to day stuff (although have started talking about them possibly moving to my town - but think mum is not well enough for the upheaval at the moment...)

My main question for the moment is: should I be making contact with their GP/social services myself? I don't know what I would say to the GP, but a couple of people have said I should make direct contact and the GP would welcome that - do you think that is the case? Mum and Dad would be happy for their GP to talk to me about them, but they haven't asked me to to that. And what would I say? I think I'm actually asking for a script for what I should say first to the receptionist and then to the GP - I get terribly anxious making phone calls, which I know is pathetic, but it's even more pathetic to not be helping my parents if this is something I should be doing! I know that at some future crisis point I will have to be in touch with the people involved in their care, but I just don't know if/how to make that contact right now.

I'm sorry that sounds really feeble, especially compared with what some of you are dealing with. I've just got myself really worked up and could do with some guidance.

SingingTunelessly Thu 26-Oct-17 21:36:10

It's so tough isn't it. I'm not sure about just calling the GP as there is probably a load of data protection stuff to go through which won't be possible over the phone. With my mum, I accompanied her to all appointments when her health started to deteriorate and she was able to tell the GP/hospital consultants to call me/speak with me directly so they then noted it on the system. Sorry probably not much use to you though.

sleepingdogslying Thu 26-Oct-17 21:41:06

My parents are in their mid 80s and I’m at the beginning of this journey sad I thought this was quite useful

www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/speaking-to-gp-about-someone-elses-health.aspx

PurpleWithRed Thu 26-Oct-17 22:41:14

As someone who has been through this and works with the elderly, definitely get their consent to talk to their healthcare providers and social services about them.

Also, to be brutally honest, your mum may not get better where she is, moving will be stressful but having your parents close by will make things a billion times easier for you all. Check out living options for them locally before you broach the subject (what their home is worth, what they can afford if they come to live near you etc). Also get power of attorney in place sooner rather than later, and talk to them about helping them with their finances.

Talk to Age UK - click through to ‘services in my area’ - and Age Concern if you have one locally asap.

The switch of roles between you and your parents is very difficult for everyone: it is easier if you do your research beforehand and act before there is a major crisis. There is lots of help and advice out there, good luck with the journey.

maddywest Fri 27-Oct-17 09:04:11

Thank you so much for your messages. I'm still not sure how to make the initial contact with the GP - it's not like I have anything specific to say except "I am worrying from a distance"!

I will do some research on what living arrangements are available here. Dad is in better health than mum, he could live on his own if necessary whereas she couldn't so they have different needs. I'll talk to Age UK, that's a good idea maybe they can help me make a plan. And to mum and dad of course. Although they disagree on most things and are often extremely nasty to each other, I'm really not looking forward to this!

thanks again, I'll be back...

Alonglongway Sat 28-Oct-17 02:39:41

Yeah i moved to my parents last year and it has made a massive difference. I go to GP with them from time to time and they’ve introduced me and given consent to data sharing.

I didn’t have great experience of social services when parents were in hospital. My parents have savings and social workers tended to leave us to it when they realised that whereas i would have appreciated advice on local resources. I used CQC website to find carer agency and that has gone very well.

EmmaGrundyForPM Sat 28-Oct-17 02:57:51

You will need your parents consent in order to talk to social workers or GPs about them.

I would ring their local councils older people's services team. Where we live, if your mum gave you permission to talk on her behalf, you would be given information on local social activities etc. There may also be a local charity which has volunteers who would take your mum.to an activity and stay with her the first couple of times until she feels confident to do it independently. Age UK has volunteers but in some areas there a long waiting list to get one.

Do your parents have lots of friends locally? If so, moving might not be a great idea as they would lose all their social networks. But if they are quite isolated in their community then it might be worth talking with them about a possible move to where you live and see what they think. Some form of sheltered accommodation might be a good idea, as there will be a ready made community for them to step into.

EmmaGrundyForPM Sat 28-Oct-17 02:57:52

You will need your parents consent in order to talk to social workers or GPs about them.

I would ring their local councils older people's services team. Where we live, if your mum gave you permission to talk on her behalf, you would be given information on local social activities etc. There may also be a local charity which has volunteers who would take your mum.to an activity and stay with her the first couple of times until she feels confident to do it independently. Age UK has volunteers but in some areas there a long waiting list to get one.

Do your parents have lots of friends locally? If so, moving might not be a great idea as they would lose all their social networks. But if they are quite isolated in their community then it might be worth talking with them about a possible move to where you live and see what they think. Some form of sheltered accommodation might be a good idea, as there will be a ready made community for them to step into.

Pithivier Sat 28-Oct-17 08:33:52

I think the advice you have about the GP is good. I emailed my Mother's GP practice, in a grovelling way.
I started by acknowledging the constraints on the practice and asked what the procedure was for concerned relatives of elderly patients. I expect that every GP behaves differently, but I received an email saying that the GP will ring them and ask them to visit. Not really helpful in respect of the question, I asked about whether I had rights to any information.

In our Area the Red Cross did a befriending service called "Help not hospital. It may be worth contacting them to see I they have anyone available who could visit your Mum.

MoreCheerfulMonica Sat 28-Oct-17 08:56:43

I've rung my mother's surgery to pass on concerns, but there's very little they can do if the contact doesn't come from the patient. I found it better to speak to the practice nurse.

colleysmill Sat 28-Oct-17 08:56:49

When I had concerns about my (not really elderly) dad I persuaded him to book a GP appointment himself and then I booked a telephone consultation before hand. I explained that I knew they couldn't tell me anything but gave them a list of the wider families concerns and signs and symptoms we had noticed but he hadnt. I also told them my concerns about things that I knew I wouldn't mention but asked them to look out for in the appointment (right hand tremor) I basically talked at them and didn't ask questions!

They thanked me for the info and consequently he was referred to a Neuro specialist and subsequently diagnosed with Parkinsons. I have no doubt without a little support the diagnosis woukd have been a lot longer coming. In the lobger term we niw have things set up for both financial power of attorney and also the health aspect too

Hulder Sat 28-Oct-17 09:04:45

You can ring their GP and talk about your worries but they can't tell you anything back without your parents' consent although some will forget this on the phone

My DM's GP has a system where she can register that she's happy for everything to be shared with me so I can ring up and have info.

Have you also done Powers of Attorney? They only apply if your parent has lost capacity to make decisions for themselves but they need to be done before you need to use it.

In terms of speaking to the GP (when you have your parents' consent) I would think about what you want to ask:
The key things that stand out from your post is that she has a lot of appointments but isn't getting better. So an important question would be what is the state of her health now, what is her diagnosis, what does this mean for the future (and can they say what her prognosis is)

UserThenLotsOfNumbers Sat 28-Oct-17 09:12:51

Definitely talk to Age UK or Age Concern for advice.
You could discuss the general situation with their GP surgery, although you wouldn’t be given any medical details I’m sure.
Good luck.

Pumpkiningg8 Sun 29-Oct-17 01:07:36

Suggest ask local Red Cross, Age UK or church or other local charity if they have transport to a local club or a befriending service that occurs on a regular basis. I believe that some clubs there is a small payment that may be needed. Secondly, can you get a cleaner or carer to go regularly to the house, so that they have contact with someone local. This would also need to be paid for.

LidlAngel Sun 29-Oct-17 13:21:18

When I was concerned about my mother I wrote to her GP, giving examples of how things weren't 'right'. I then followed it up with a call to the surgery who spoke to her GP and relayed a message to me to book a phone appointment. It was the best thing I ever did as it set the wheels in motion for my mums long overdue dementia diagnosis and subsequent support. You CAN speak to their GP but the doctor won't be able to talk to you about any conversations etc he or she may have had with your parent previously. Good luck OP.

maddywest Mon 30-Oct-17 09:04:57

Thank you everyone, that's all really helpful and practical advice. I have emailed the local Age UK to ask if they have any appropriate services, and will think about approaching the GP, by email in the first instance maybe, I hadn't thought about that. I'm not trying to do it behind my parents' back, they would be happy for the doctor to talk to me if that would be useful. For the moment I'm trying to find some kind of local service that will 'look out' for them, and in the slightly longer term I'm going to talk about them moving closer to me.

thanks again x

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