Alarm services(12 Posts)
Hello all, I’ve just realised this topic is here so would like to hear you collective wisdom.
My elderly parents still live in the family home. DM is 80, DF is 87. Both have their faculties but DF is frail after a couple of strokes. DF can manage his own personal care and toileting, DM does everything else and looks after the house and garden.
DF falls occasionally and cannot get back up, and DM can’t lift him. They end up calling on their neighbours to lift DF, which is kind of them but I don’t think it’s fair and am worried the neighbours will hurt themselves. I’ve told DM they need to call 999 as they have done in the past when the paramedics got DF up, checked blood pressure and made sure he was ok and said they were absolutely right to call them out. However, my parents now won’t call for an ambulance as they say it takes too long to get to them (over an hour), which is why they ask neighbours, sometimes in the night. Understandably 999 service have to prioritise emergency call outs. I think DF is also worried about being taken in to hospital again and can get extremely stubborn in stress situations and DM panics/flaps. They’re lovely normally and DF behaves for me when I get a bit bossy with him, but my sibling and I both live several hours away so we are no immediate help.
My sibling and I would be more than happy to pay for a private call out service. I’ve looked up ageuk and saga but it seems they provide a service that then calls out either a nominated contact or an ambulance.
Is there such a thing as a private call out service that come out to you in such a situation? Does anyone have any other suggestions?
Your local council probably have a lifeline (emergency button worn on a pendant) service that costs a few pounds a week. The one my DGM has definitely come out following a fall, but that might not be the case in all areas.
Otherwise, assuming the person who fell is conscious, breathing and not suffering a medical emergency such as suspected stroke or severe blood loss, then tell your parents they should ring 111.
Our LA call out service will only come out if the designated contacts are not available, and you cannot sign up unless you give two contacts who live close to the person and who will be available most of the time.
Ambulance is not a good option - round here waits are regularly 4-8 hours. And if they then send him to A&E, it's another 4 hours plus in A&E
We haven't found a solution. Fortunately my DF can get himself back up, although it may take him a couple of hours.
You need to get them assessed via adult social services (through your council). They will send someone out to assess them and probably provide them with an alarm button or phone number that will link to their care team to get them up if they fall over / need help (in our area it is called the Norfolk Swifts and is run by care staff). It is usually a free service for those who need it. They may also be eligible for carers to pop in up to 3/4 times a day if they need it but that depends on need. (Just been through all this with my own mum!) My mum had a wrist alarm with several numbers on it that would ring if she pressed it - one of those was the swifts number. She also had a little safe box added to the outside of her out with a PIN number used to open it where she could keep the keys to the house so anyone from social services etc could get in without her having to open the door - useful for falls etc - and social services kept note of the number.
I’m in a similar situation with my Nan. She has the L.A. system but is reluctant to use it when she’s fallen. She’s waited on the floor until my mum has called and my mum has had to go and pick her up. So far from an ideal situation.
Our problem is nanny’s reluctance to accept help. She’s fiercely independent and has refused all help despite being nearly complexly immobile. Manages with a trolley on wheels and a stair lift. Refuses wheel chair, carers, cleaner.
Sorry to de rail....
I don’t know what the answer is. Neighbours shouldn’t be involved you are right, but waiting for an ambulance isn’t good either.
I want nanny to come and live with one of us, I feel it’s that or nursing home for her now. She’s beyond warden assisted living. But would that set up work for your parents?
Wow that's interesting that some PP said their LA has call out system that goes to a team of carers who come out to pick people up after they've fallen ?
This is not widespread across country and sounds surprising for a number of reasons.
Lifelines (call out systems) are simply that. If you and Dsis are added as emergency contacts, will get alerted & can go round/ choose to help lift dad up if you want rather than call ambulance.
Best to go through adult services, if you look up telecare online - it says how it works. The alert call goes to a centre which either calls emergency services or to either of two nominated contacts (family or neighbours). Sometimes you can negotiate to pay a care agency to be one of nominated contacts (LA may pay agency if client is unbefriended)...
But if he has fallen & unable to get up, carers won't lift him up. They have to call an ambulance to assess and help him, incase he has broken a bone/ seriously injured himself and they cause damage. If he gets himself up with minimal help (guidance, no lifting), fine. Sometimes ambulances do take one or a few hours if they have other urgent calls /paramedics stuck at a busy A&E waiting to handover patients.
On occasions someone may have been assessed by Multi Disciplinary Team as a "frequent and known" faller who has a signed off fall plan and been provided with equipment to help carer get him up off floor - only in those circumstances would a carer help someone up off floor who needed lifting (using equipment).
This is useful. I notice you live too far away. Maybe show this two chairs technique to your parents & their NDN...(it doesn't involve physically lifting)...
Thanks all for your thoughts - I've checked their LA and they don't offer a private carer call out service on their website. However, I'm seeing them next weekend so will try and have another talk to them about it and get their permission to ring the LA on their behalf to see what other help is available that might not be on their website.
Their LA/NHS trust have been fantastic so far, and they got lots of help when Dad came out of hospital after his strokes. He has been offered carers but as he can wash and toilet himself, he's declined, particularly as he didn't want the rigidity of a fixed timetable of carer visits. My parents have got a big "we can manage" thing going on, which is a mix of war-generation independence plus a bit of denial with a fear of "giving up" which means "the end".
I can maybe do the bossy daughter thing when I visit as I can get away with stuff that is dismissed as nagging when Mum does it. Eg when Dad falls its usually when he gets up in the night to use the toilet, so maybe a reminder again about using his Zimmer frame to steady himself and/or using a bottle instead.
@OffToBedhampton thanks, that's very useful. I'm not sure if Dad has the body strength to get on his hands and knees, but its something I can talk to him about next weekend. In particular, if they do insist on calling on the neighbours, using this technique would at least reduce the risk of the neighbours being hurt.
Dad is quite resourceful, so his solution when on the floor is to shuffle on his bum to the stairs, so he can then lower his legs on the steps and lever himself up using the banisters and the railing for the stair lift. However, Mum panics that he's about to launch himself head down the stairs and stops him, which results in a big row.
Hope you manage to get something sorted soon.
For reference, in reply to the previous poster who was wondering about the service in our area it’s this - www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/care-and-support/urgent-help/how-to-get-urgent-help
Which area are you? Region will do or nearest big city?
Unfortunately private fall services are few and far between. It’s 999 or nothing, and for an assist-only fall round here that can mean a very long wait (DH is a paramedic, I’m an ambulance volunteer). Asking neighbours etc is a bad thing - it might be fine but what if he falls again as soon as he’s up, or if his neighbour hurts himself helping? And it just hides the falls from everyone which prevents him getting appropriate help for them.
Best thing is to minimise the falls. Occy health assessment via the gp or ss, and do you have falls prevention sessions locally? Ask your GP/social services about those too, they are exercise and advice sessions designed to help balance/strength and can make a lot of difference.
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