‘How could I change this? What help do I need?’
In addition to all the social time she spends with Vic herself, Kath has identified numerous opportunities through which Vic could be helped to achieve his wish of being able to talk to people as often as possible, through supported self care. She has gone on to help him access the equipment and support necessary to realise these opportunities through a variety of means, including:
- Research on the internet;
- Liaising with social services;
- Liaising with local care providers;
- Contact with local and national charities;
- Contact with specialist support groups;
In order to help Vic to be visited by people who have time to stop and chat to him, Kath has supported him by doing the following:
- Supporting Vic to access weekly visits from a local charity that specialises in supporting older people to enjoy social activities and thus helps to avoid loneliness and isolation;
- Directly managing the budget allocated for Vic’s care package. Kath has recruited a team of dedicate carers who live locally and are prepared to work flexibly according to Vic’s needs. They offer great continuity of care, which means they are able to achieve good social interaction, even during their task-focused visits;
- Working in close partnership with this team to make sure he is always attended by two carers, three times a day, as required, meeting his personal care needs. However, through flexible working and careful budget management, Kath as also been able to arrange for the carers to come in at other times in the week to spend some social time with Vic as well.
In order to help Vic to be able to get out of his house to see people, Kath has supported him by doing the following:
- Sourced and arranged the installation of a lift to the front door of the house;
- Sourced and arranged the provision of a motorized wheelchair that can be used outside;
- Purchased a wheelchair-adapted car so that she can take Vic out.
In order to help Vic to be able to use technology to talk to people who are not there face-to-face, Kath has supported him by installing Skype and setting it up regularly so that he can speak to his other daughter who lives in the West Country.
In order to help Vic to be well enough and bright enough to engage in conversation, Kath has supported him by doing the following:
- Paying great attention to his comfort and safety, through good hydration and nutrition, and the provision of the special chair, as outlined above;
- Supporting Vic to stay in good health by helping him to take all his medication appropriately, to attend medical appointments when needed, and by making sure that all his regular health, care and comfort needs are met by carers and district nurses;
- Collecting a wide variety of material to act as prompts and cues for Vic in conversation with his visitors;
- Arranging the excellent continuity offered by Vic’s carers, which has allowed a great rapport to develop between them, facilitating enjoyable conversations and fulfilling social interactions, particularly on their longer visits.