Gransnet forums

Care & carers

Care home won't let my friend do ANYTHING for himself!

(23 Posts)
schnackie Wed 11-Nov-15 12:44:53

I have a dear friend, widowed for many years. I became friends with his children and him over 15 years ago, and over time, he became my lodger for about 5 years. He had a very set routine, getting the bus to town, having tea with his old cronies etc, having lunch in a cafe, etc. A few years ago, I had to move, so he moved back into his old home, which he had sold to his son. But they have fallen out and my friend has now been forced to go to a care home! He has just turned 88 but is very youthful, fully aware of what's going on etc. However, this care home, which is lovely, will not let him do anything for himself. He has been diabetic for 25 years, managing his own insulin and blood tests. Now he can't even do that. And when I visited him yesterday he had a walking stick! He doesn't need a walking stick, but said if he goes down to the common room without it, he get's "told off". And worst of all, they will not let him leave the home, at all, without someone coming for him and being responsible for him. So no more bus trips to town, no more meeting up with old friends, and no more vital exercise! He is not my relative, so I don't feel I have the right to butt in but does anyone have any suggestions? I fear he will start going downhill rapidly from lack of stimulation and exercise. Sorry for the rant, I just got really upset.

Teetime Wed 11-Nov-15 12:49:53

You could have a friendly chat with the person in charge - perhaps they haven't got to know him yet. They can't actually stop him leaving the premises whenever he wants to as he is not under a section (I would imagine) but they may be advising him that he is safer that way. I would proceed cautiously. New residents take time to settle in and the assessment of his needs and capabilities may take a bit longer to fully form.

soontobe Wed 11-Nov-15 12:50:56

He sounds as though he is very with it, so have you asked him what he thinks?

Luckygirl Wed 11-Nov-15 12:55:52

This is WRONG! Care homes should be encouraging independence, as long as this man has mental capacity to make the decisions to go out etc. And as for the stick.....words fail me!

It is time to take action now before he caves in under the pressure and lets himself go.

One low-key way of dealing with it would be to casually say to the care manager that you know him very well and were quite astonished to find how his independence has suddenly been curtailed - tell him/her what he was doing a few months ago.

If this goes nowhere, talk to him - would he be happy for you to talk with the home about the situation or can you encourage him to do so (perhaps being with him when he does)? Then talk to a relative if he is happy with that; if they do not get on the case, then talk to the local SSD and to the CQC.

I used to place elderly people in care homes and would have been all over this - it is simply not acceptable. You really do need to encourage him to feel he can safely challenge this.

Gets "told off" indeed! - is he a child?

loopylou Wed 11-Nov-15 13:01:18

If he's that able he could have considered sheltered accommodation certainly not a care home. It sounds more like he's confined rather than having an alternative to living with his son (very convenient the falling out....)

He could have had arrangements made for meals etc and lived independently but with someone keeping an eye on him.

Is this an option?
He could be living in the care home for the next 10 years sad

Certainly his wishes are not being respected which is disgusting and illegal.

Antjexix Wed 11-Nov-15 13:04:16

You should speak to the manager about his abilities. He should not be told off. But do remember that the care home has a responsibility for him and it may take a while for him to settle in and for the staff to know him. If he's quite mobile then there is no reason why he should not go out unaccompanied . We have a lady in our care home. She's 100 years old and still goes out by herself. On the other hand we have a gent with Parkinsons who we discourage to go out on his own as he would get lost and tends to fall. This is where safeguarding comes into play.

Lynker Wed 11-Nov-15 13:05:40

This is unacceptable behaviour on the part of the care home. He should speak to the Manager, who may want him to sign a risk assessment to allow him to have his freedom. If that fails, he needs to contact Social Services who will take this very seriously, as the home is acting contrary to the Deprivation of Liberty guidelines, by not allowing him to go out. Also he can ask to see his GP/Physiotherapist regarding whether or not he needs a walking stick following an assessment and he has every right to continue to administer his own insulin and blood tests if he is assessed as being competent. It sounds as though he needs an advocate to support him with these various issues. The care home should be enabling him, not disabling him in this way.

Luckygirl Wed 11-Nov-15 13:05:41

Indeed loopy it really does sound as though he is in the wrong place. It is a bit odd as years ago anyone could choose to go into a home, but these days it goes through SSD who have to make a needs assessment, which includes (or should include) all possible options.

Anya Wed 11-Nov-15 13:18:33

I think he ought to invoke Habeus Corpus...he is being detained against his will.

The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 is an Act of the Parliament of England to define and strengthen the ancient prerogative writ of habeas corpus, a procedural device to force the courts to examine the lawfulness of a prisoner's detention in order to safeguard individual liberty and thus to prevent unlawful or arbitrary imprisonment.

schnackie Wed 11-Nov-15 13:38:34

Thank you all so very much for all your good ideas. I have spoken to him, gently, about all these "rules" that interfere with his independence, but he tends to shrug his shoulders,- he hates challenging authority.
I am a retired nurse, so I understand what you are saying about risk assessments etc, and he certainly should have been assessed to do many more things for himself.
I moved out of the local area, so I can't visit as often as I would like, but I think I will seek out his daughter and see what she makes of the situation. (Obviously things are strained with the son). Lynker, I am unfamiliar with the Deprivation of Liberty guidelines but I will look into that. Antjexix, that is wonderful that a 100 year old lady is allowed to go out as she pleases.
This man has been like a father to me for so long, and I just can't sit by and do nothing.
Thank you again for your advice and suggestions!

shysal Wed 11-Nov-15 13:41:27

I suspect the home staff are frightened of him having an accident and sueing them. It is Health and Safety gone mad!
My mother went to an Abbeyfield home, where her meals were provided, but she did as little or as much as she pleased in and around her bedsit. It was a perfect half-way measure.

tanith Wed 11-Nov-15 15:14:08

A friend who was in temporary council care after an accident got mad that they wouldn't let her have control over her own meds , she insisted and they got her to sign a form which stated that she would self-medicate and she was then given her own meds to sort out herself which of course she had to do when she was back at home..
It does sound like they are being OTT .

M0nica Wed 11-Nov-15 17:36:12

schnackie contact your local Age UK, they will be able to advise on this matter and may be able to be instrumental in sorting it out.

What the care home are doing is illegal. They are breaching your friend's human rights in being able to make decisions about his life himself, including rights to association and free movement.

As several people have said a care home sounds the wrong place for him he needs either sheltered housing and possibly food deliveries, and cleaners but not much else.

Iam64 Wed 11-Nov-15 18:34:11

Who 'forced' him to go into a care home and who is funding it? My experience is that sw and health workers go to the end of the earth to keep people living independently. Sheltered housing seems a much better option or one of the vanishingly rare one bedroom bungalows that council's used to build for elderly folks. Your friend could ask for a sw assessment of his needs.

I'm not surprised about the medication regime, since Harold Shipman all medication is so carefully regulated in hospitals, care homes et.

Luckygirl Wed 11-Nov-15 18:38:50

When it comes to diabetes, the "patient" is the expert and knows what is needed when. Unless he has dementia he will be the best person to manage this.

Iam64 Wed 11-Nov-15 18:51:03

Probably absolutely right Luckygirl and I'd feel the same about my use of anti inflammatories for example. When mil was in a nursing home the issue often became her life long refusal to take any medication when staff were clear she needed it.
Old age, not for softies is it

M0nica Thu 12-Nov-15 09:57:01

I saw an article somewhere recently that said residents in care homes who do not have dementia have a right to control their own medication.

schnackie Thu 12-Nov-15 13:47:53

Thanks again for so many good ideas! I'm going to take your suggestions on board and meet with his daughter. Love the support from all of you.

nanakate Tue 05-Jan-16 10:31:05

Yes, Monica is right about the right to control own medication. Also the right to come and go. Ask to see your friend's care plan - he should have a copy of it himself.

trisher Tue 05-Jan-16 11:02:32

What about asking the manager if you can arrange to meet him somewhere for a coffee, or asking him to your home. As far as a walking stick goes if he doesn't need it it may actually harm his ability to walk. When I hurt my knee my physio told me to get rid of it asap as it meant I was not walking properly and would get into bad habits.

Shinyredcar Tue 05-Jan-16 12:01:22

Many good points being made here. The trouble is that these days Care Homes take people who are much less able to look after themselves than used to be the case. A high proportion have dementia and many are very frail. I find a lot of the residents are people who would have been in Nursing Homes not so many years ago.

I think you are right to worry, and to feel that action needs taking soon because people can easily settle back into being dependent. 'Use it or lose it' is something we all need to remember! And there is a generational thing about older people being unwilling to question anyone in a uniform, or in authority, whether care worker or Doctor.

As other posters have said, it seems as if your friend chose the wrong place and supported living would be a better bet. Someone to keep an eye in case of accidents, but a routine which offers independence. Some have on-site restaurants/cafes to help with broader-based diets than are sometimes what we manage at home. Cooking for one can be a challenge if you aren't used to it.

Don't push too hard, but a concerned word with your friend's daughter may do the trick, as some have suggested. Or could you arrange a conversation with him and the manager when you visit? If you open up the issues, he may be happier to talk. My husband will often follow what I start to talk about in his Home but would never raise the issues himself. I guess if this is now your 'home' you feel vulnerable about making waves...?

Maddcow Tue 05-Jan-16 17:24:51

Blame the compensation culture! Care homes etc are paranoid about anyone having accidents etc as they fear they will be sued and this is possibly why? My mum fell in her care home and no-one has said sorry as that would be implying blame.... angry

pearl79 Wed 06-Jan-16 14:38:30

The one thing no one's mentioned here is laziness. It seems it's easier to look after a line of rag dolls all accepting the same treatment.
When my grandmother became ill and could not care for herself she was taken into a care home. It clearly helped her to begin with: regular meals prepared for her, the washing done, etc. But by the end of two weeks she was going stir crazy. The person-in-charge politely took me aside and asked me to remove my grandmother (not that I had the right to!) So I checked what she wanted, and by the end of the day she was back home and happy again. (I was never forgiven by the rest of the family, who felt she ought to have been forced to stay!)
Some people really do not fare well in institutions. If you're either not sufficiently grateful for whatever treatment is provided, or not strong enough to battle against it, you're in deep water.
Personally I think the best advice on here is to approach Age UK. They know all the pros and cons, best solutions and how to go about achieving that. They can at the very least give your friend the form of words to use so he doesn't feel frightened of rocking the boat but enabled to get the level of care he needs (while avoiding the over-caring he's suffering from).