West Park CarE CASE STUDY
John & Margaret
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 65, John had previously lived a very full and active life. As HR Manager for both Vibroplant and Ainscough over 27yrs, he commuted daily from Harrogate to Wigan, enjoying both the drive and seeing the changes to the view over the seasons.
Fiercely independent his whole life, and his home backing on to his sister Margaret’s property, he also supported her in looking after their own parents when they needed care in his home.
Retiring at 67, whilst also still doing some part-time hours from home, he managed his own finances and previously always looked after himself, with support from Margaret who had been a carer at a local convent all her life. The proximity of their houses being perfect for this, and their close friendship very clear to see.
Reaching his 77th birthday in December, it will be 12yrs since his diagnosis of Parkinson’s, a disease that also affected his own mum. Until earlier this year, with support from his sister Margaret and family, he was coping fine at home, and clearly very happy there.
“I didn’t mind the daily drive from Harrogate to Wigan, I enjoyed driving and especially seeing the change in the seasons in the countryside”. John
Then this summer, he contracted an infection as a result of using a catheter, which resulted in him being admitted to hospital with sepsis. Once the infection was brought under control, John was then moved to a local care home for respite care and to help get him back on his feet. The family were unable to chose which home he was moved to, and this resulted in a hours round trip for Margaret via bus to see him, as she doesn’t drive.
As a result of Covid restrictions, Margaret was only able to visit once a fortnight, and taking nearly an hour to go through all the covid procedures, she only got half an hour actually with him each time.
Spending nearly 7wks weeks in bed, with very limited mobility, John’s condition and mental state began to deteriorate rapidly. All he wanted was to go home, and he had to wait for a mobility assessment before that could happen.
Margaret contacted West Park Care, who were also unable to do an assessment whilst John was left in bed – they needed to see him mobile, to know what he could achieve, her worries multiplying as she said, “there was no doubt about it at all, he was giving up. There was nothing wrong with the care home he had been placed in, but he just wanted to be back in his own home, where he belonged.”
Margaret continued to visit John, taking biscuits and fruit, as no snacks were provided between meals. Whilst he was a self-funding individual, this had no impact on speeding the process up, it is simply a case of getting through all the red tape.
Eventually an assessment by the Council took place, and during a 2wk discharge period, West Park Care were able to visit John and do their own assessment, so they could then develop a bespoke package of care for when he arrived home.
As they were at capacity at the time, two senior members of staff stepped in and covered the morning shifts to ensure he could be moved back to his home. Jackie Whitfield, Service Manager explained, “We had worked closely with Margaret in her quest to get John back home, and predominately saw first hand the deterioration in both his physical and mental health. When we did the assessment, John was able to walk with a frame. We ensure he has two person support, one quiding him, and another following behind with a glider. We don’t take any risks, but we also don’t provide support if it isn’t needed.”
She continued, “People need to be treated as individuals, and the care arranged accordingly. We take account their wishes, choices and preferences. We assume John had previously fallen, hence being bed ridden in the care home, but he still wanted and needed to walk. We always focus on the clients wishes, as long as we feel we can support them. I stepped in myself with a colleague to ensure we could action his care package immediately, he called us his ‘dream team!’.”
“There was no doubt about it at all, he was giving up. There was nothing wrong with the care home he had been placed in, but he just wanted to be back in his own home, where he belonged.” Margaret
John’s sister Margaret’s relief at finally having him home was visible in her face and reactions, holding his hand she said “Having worked in care all my life, I knew he was better off at home. Even his cat Tinkerbell had sat by his bed waiting for him to come back. He is eating properly again, looks well and has put a stone back on. West Park Care didn’t just assess his physical health, they could see his state of mind, and thanks to them I now have my brother back.”
“West Park Care didn’t just assess his physical health, they could see his state of mind, and thanks to them I now have my brother back.” Margaret.
The overall principal of West Park Care, that nothing should prevent an individual being cared for in their own home, was very apparent for this family. In John’s own words smiling, “It is so good to be back home.”
Having spent much of her career in social care, Service Manager Jackie Whitfield added, “Care should always be person centred, whether it is at home or in a care home. Whilst for John it was clearly imperative to get him back home, for other people care homes do serve a very important purpose. The key is being able to make it your home wherever you are, and respecting an individuals wishes. There is a generational perception that care homes are to be avoided at all costs, but I have worked in some excellent establishments. Fundamentally at West Park however, there is no one we can’t look after in their own home should they wish it, and no one should prevent or dissuade you from being cared for in your own home.”
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