"Care in Sheffield for a wife with Alzheimer's"

About: Older adult community mental health / Memory service / Dementia rapid response and home treatment team (DRRHTT) Woodland View Nursing Home (dementia)

(as a relative),

After 5 years of 24/7 home care, almost entirely from myself, my wife was referred to Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS by our GP. SHSC Dementia Rapid Response Team took over support for my wife and after two periods of care covering several months were able to achieve nothing so had her admitted to their Woodland View Nursing and Assessment facility in Sheffield for clinical assessment. 

This led to a Continuing Healthcare assessment very quickly at which DRRT had promised to attend and support me. They never turned up, leaving me unprepared and ill equipped to represent my wife. They then simply discharged her and walked away.

Woodland View has been a powerful and encouraging experience for myself and our family. Their staff are experienced, well trained and professional but much more. Their warmth, concern and tenacity is remarkable and not just the care staff. The management, administrative, housekeeping, maintenance and even gardening staff are all part of a caring team who always have a smile, a warm welcome and sincere greeting for my wife, myself and all the other residents visitors. Their patience, in spite of resistance which sometimes includes physical assault by my wife, is quite remarkable.

In preparation for the future I have contacted over 50 private nursing homes and visited to meet and discuss with over 30 of them and not one seems to have remotely comparable positive qualities like those displayed at Woodland View. The fact that Woodland View stands half empty and its service users have had to fight for its survival is tragic.

Responses

Response from James Sherwin, Nursing home manager, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this response. We are really pleased that you are happy with the service provided at Woodland View Nursing Home and your positive comments will be passed on to the rest of the team.

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Response from Gaby Dale, Assistant Clinical Director, Community, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust We are preparing to make a change

Hello

Thank you for posting this.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge the context in which you come to write this. I understand that caring for someone you love that has a degenerative illness such as Alzheimer’s is heartbreaking. Over a prolonged period of time and as the illness progresses it is a hugely demanding role, both physically and emotionally, and as healthcare professionals we really respect and appreciate this. At the point at which things understandably become unmanageable at home it’s not unreasonable to simply want the best available care, at the earliest opportunity, preferably with a sense of permanency for your loved one, and that you as main carer could expect to feel supported through that process.

As you probably know, the Dementia Rapid Response Team (DRRT) aims to care for people on a short term basis who are experiencing a crisis situation in relation to their illness, to help stabilise that situation and wherever possible and appropriate help that person to remain in their own home. If and when that becomes untenable, we see our role as helping families and carers negotiate what is often a very convoluted process in order to meet their ongoing care needs as safely as possible. In a crisis situation, as you and your wife have experienced, this can often involve the use of temporary placements to allow further assessment of care needs and in doing so recommend the most appropriate onward care setting.

I can see from talking to relevant staff and reviewing computer held healthcare records that DRRT were closely involved with the care of your wife, maintained regular communication with yourself, put much considered thought in to the completion of the Continuing Healthcare assessment request, and indeed remained involved during the transfer of her care to Woodland View Nursing Home.

I can however understand that you would feel let down, and as you say, unprepared and ill equipped to represent your wife due to DRRT staff not attending on the day of your wife’s Continuing Healthcare assessment. I understand that there was communication on the day between Woodland View and DRRT as to how and whether we were able to support you, and understand that due to clinical activity on the day it wasn’t considered possible. I remain unclear as to how well this was communicated with you. I’d like to apologise for this.

The timing and management of someone’s discharge from DRRT is of huge importance. I’m sorry that you clearly felt dropped by the team and the impact this might have had.

One of our main aims is that service users and their families have a helpful experience of our service. It feels like this has not been your consistent view, and I would really like to understand more about your experience with a view to informing and improving our ongoing practice, particularly in relation to how we work with carers, manage people’s expectations of our service, and how best we’re able to assist people in trying to navigate a very complex healthcare system.

If you’d like to meet to discuss this further please do contact me either by email gaby.dale@shsc.nhs.uk or by telephone via switchboard on 271 6310

Thanks again for raising this

Gaby

Gaby Dale

Senior Operational Manager

Older Adult Home Treatment Team

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