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Trying to move my father to a care home near Exeter from London

20 replies

Devondonkey · 11/05/2023 10:42

My father has dementia, but he is only 75 and difficult to manage. It is Korsikoff's Syndrome, which is caused by long-term alcohol abuse. I live in Devon. He's in London. I am trying to get him moved from London to Devon as he has no friends or family at all in London. He is currently in hospital after being sectioned. His social worker in London is happy for him to move down here and his current LA will continue funding him. However, all the care homes I speak to (reasonably) want to assess him first and they won't travel to London to do it (again reasonable). Does anyone have any experience in getting over this hurdle? I can't have him in my house as I have a 1 and 3 year old and it is a two bedroom house. His behaviour is challenging too. I just don't have the knowledge and skills to look after him, even short term. His social worker is finding it very hard to find a place for him in London too. I just don't know what to do at all at this point, so if anyone has any advice whatsoever, please please let me know. Thank you.

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HappyHamsters · 11/05/2023 10:55

That sounds difficult for you. I am no expert now but what does his doctor say about him moving. What section is he on, does he need a carehome with a dementia unit or a mental health unit. Does he have capacity to make a decision to move or is there an LPA or responsible adult making this decision on his behalf. How would he travel to Devon, he would need an ambulance and a nurse or carer depending on whether he is still on a section. Carehomes can do video assessments with patients and staff but that's never going to be as accurate as face to face. Realistically would you be visiting him if he did move, maybe it would be better for him to stay in London. That's what I would do but it's so hard isn't it. Whereabouts in London is he. The important thing is that a carehome can safely meet his needs.

Harkonen · 11/05/2023 10:59

Is he still drinking?

Mum5net · 11/05/2023 11:28

Could you offer to FaceTime the care home while you are visiting him? Like an online assessment?

Devondonkey · 11/05/2023 11:37

Thanks very much for getting back to me. I think they generally try and avoid moving dementia patients, but he has to be moved at least once because he can't stay in hospital. No, not drinking, but he is in a secure unit, so may only be because he doesn't have the opportunity. I think he would have to be moved by ambulance, which is the other complicating factor. I would be visiting him if he was down here. Depending on how it goes, I would also like him to have a relationship with my children. I have been suggesting Facetime, but none of the care homes seem to be going for it (partly I suspect because his notes make it clear that he is not going to be easy to look after).

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Devondonkey · 11/05/2023 11:42

Oh and it's section 3 MHA. There seems to be some confusion over whether he needs residential or nursing residential care, which is not helping the situation either. He doesn't have the capacity to decide to move, but his social worker and doctors think it would be better for him to be nearer me.

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Yellowdays · 11/05/2023 11:48

They mean best for them. You need to decide what you think is best, for you and then for him.

Mum5net · 11/05/2023 11:54

My DM went from section in a MHU to a community hospital. The hospital was sixty miles away from the care home but someone travelled to assess. My DSis and I transported DM in the car. I can understand why they might not be keen to take him on as my DM's first care home took on too many 'challenging' clients and they couldn't cope and were eventually closed by the Care Commission . Could you offer to pay a full staff shift and travel expenses for someone to assess?

HappyHamsters · 11/05/2023 12:25

If he has no capacity and is on S3 which is a treatment section who says he is safe to be moved out of hospital. I doubt any carehome would accept a sectioned patient without having the staff and knowledge to look after him. A nursing home may not be appropriate for him if he is in a secure unit. Are they planning to try and find a residential mental health unit instead. Why was he sectioned. I would not offer to pay for staff or travel, it's not your responsibility at all and no way should a doctor or sw allow a s3 challenging patient to travel in a family car.

DPotter · 11/05/2023 13:06

The good news is that once someone has been on a S3 their aftercare is covered by a S117 which is funded so the local authority has to pay for his care forever, wherever he goes.

Our family has successfully placed a relative in a specialist care home 200 miles distant from their home to nearer the rest of the family so it can be done.

Harkonen · 11/05/2023 14:19

Yellowdays · 11/05/2023 11:48

They mean best for them. You need to decide what you think is best, for you and then for him.

This. I'd think very hard about moving him OP.

Devondonkey · 12/05/2023 09:44

Thanks, everyone. I do think it will be better for him and me for him to be nearby. There is something so hideous about the idea of being stuck in a care home with no one ever visiting. Yes, the London LA are fine about paying for him, it's just finding anywhere that will take the money! @DPotter Do you remember how they managed the transfer? As in, how did you get through the assessment hurdle at that distance? He was sectioned because he became too difficult for the first care home in London to manage him.

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Devondonkey · 12/05/2023 09:48

For clarity, at the moment, he is in hospital, but his doctor says he is ready to leave. So he needs to move at some point soon. It's just a question of where he moves to. His social worker seems to be finding it incredibly hard to find a place for him (in both London and Devon.) Everyone including me agrees it would be better for him to be in Devon, but no one seems to be able to work out how that move can happen.

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SirVixofVixHall · 12/05/2023 10:00

I moved my Mum close to me, it was so much better having her nearby. We did try to move a relative of DH’s to the same place, but in the end had to leave him where he was, as his doctors felt he would be very unsettled by a move.
With my Mum they did visit the new home, it was probably two and a half hours drive from her old one. I don’t really understand why though, as surely the home should be able to answer any questions about their provision, and provide proof of their suitability. It all seems unnecessarily complicated, especially as it is pretty common . I would have a meeting with his team and ask them how to proceed, while visiting homes near to you and getting on waiting lists for the ones you think would suit him.
We were on a waiting list for a while, as the home we wanted was full. I think we waited about six months.

Shellingbynight · 12/05/2023 10:03

This is a complex and challenging case and I think you need to leave it to the social worker to find a placement, whether that be in London or Devon. Any care/nursing home will need to meet and assess him in order to ensure they can meet his needs.

I moved my mother (who has Alzheimers) from London to my area 100 miles away, the care home accepted an assessment from her current carers, and we transported her there in the car - but she was she was placid and easy to deal with. Your father's social worker should be able to find a placement, but due to the challenges he presents it may take some time. It may be easier to get him assessed and placed in London, and if that's the case please don't feel bad about it.

DPotter · 12/05/2023 12:54

I didn’t make the arrangements myself,SIL did all the leg work.She found a care home specialising dementia care and from memory I pretty sure the
care home & hospital liaised directly, no one visited to assess FIL in hospital.

The hospital also arranged the ambulance- FIL wouldn’t have tolerated the trip in a car. There was a delay waiting for a room to become available.

Specialist units are way over subscribed so there may well be a wait, and all anyone can do is to be patient. You may find you still have a way to travel. It’s up to the hospital social worker to push things along. Don’t what ever you do agree to take your DF home to yours. I have a sneaky suspicion that the homes you have approached are telling you they can’t assess as the first barrier as they are full & already have a waiting list.

Sirvix has it has it spot on - ask for a meeting (everyone is accustomed to Zoom / Teams these days so you can do this from home) and ask them how they are going to proceed.

I know this is a very trying time, but so much of this is out of your hands so try to be chilled about it. OK I know that’s impossible - but worrying too much doesn’t help. Let the professionals sort it out. I know it doesn’t seem like it but you and your Dad are in a more fortunate position than many -everyone accepts his behaviour is challenging, he’s in a safe place now and funding is sorted

Devondonkey · 12/05/2023 14:49

Thanks v much, @DPotter Slightly depressing to think how one might rise up the waiting list for a care home..! I wouldn't mind at all if the care homes said they didn't want to take him, it's just a bit painful trying to get the assessment to work if they won't take him either way. To be fair, no one is suggesting he comes to me. Think everyone can see that the combination of him and small children is impossible. It does seem odd that the care homes can't just talk directly to the consultant psychiatrist at the hospital and/or his social worker to work out if they would be able to manage him.

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Helenloveslee4eva · 12/05/2023 14:52

Surely in the days of video calling they can get over that - especially as he has a care needs assessment in place here he is and his team really know him ?
my dad moved northants - brum on the basis of his care assessment from his respite placement before we really got into video calling etc.

DPotter · 12/05/2023 15:00

It does seem odd that the care homes can't just talk directly to the consultant psychiatrist at the hospital and/or his social worker to work out if they would be able to manage him

They can talk directly, but don't have to. They probably have more than enough patients coming through locally. As I say, saying they can assess without a visit is the 1st filter to even putting your DF on a waiting list. Sadly, along with a lot of other services we don't have enough places for those with dementia and challenging behaviour.

And yes - it is grim thinking of how people move up the waiting list

Badbudgeter · 12/05/2023 15:10

It’s really important for care homes to do their own assessment of a potential resident. Hospitals are keen to move people on and may be incentivised to be be circumspect with the truth. You see it all the time on here with people being advised to say they will provide no help to prevent discharge without an appropriate care package.

Without an assessment you risk him being resectioned and having to restart the process.

Devondonkey · 12/05/2023 22:11

I'm just worried that they'll eventually find him a place in London, and then that's just where he will stay because the move is so hard to organise. I hate the idea of no one visiting him - and I just can't get to London very often at all.

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