A Worrying Turn of Events
The phone rang at quarter to eight on Friday morning. A man was asking for me in a deep baritone voice, West African by the sound of it, maybe Senegalese.
He was from Acme*, my brother’s new care company, starting today he said, but no-one was answering the door.
Erm, you WHAT, I said, although I had heard him perfectly clearly. I knew that the short-term intervention care service couldn’t go on indefinitely and that the social worker was keen to move us on to a more long-term arrangement with another provider. We had chosen a company with a really good reputation for working with Huntington’s patients but knew they hadn’t got any spaces for us yet. So in the meantime we’d been waiting for the default agency to get in touch to do their assessment of Nick’s specific needs and take it from there.
What I was not expecting was an overnight change of provider without any kind of handover or prior evaluation. No-one would be that unprofessional, surely?
So I was a bit shocked.
“We haven’t had any notice that the current service would be finishing and no-one from a new provider has come to see Nick – obviously you can’t start a whole new package of care provision for a vulnerable person without even doing an assessment.”
Oh, it happens all the time, he said cheerfully.
I told him that I wasn’t going to let him in without any kind of authorisation and that he’d have to get his manager to call me. Then I called the short-term team’s out of hours service (it was still only 8am) and tried to find out what was going on. They had no end date on file for their service with Nick, knew nothing about Acme starting and said their own carers were going in as usual that morning.
I got really worried then at the idea of this new company just rocking up unannounced and trying to do their own care at the same time as the current ones – overlapping services is a real no-no for obvious reasons especially if medications are involved, especially when this lot hadn’t even met him yet.
The out of hours advisor said she would investigate and get someone to call me back later but in the meantime to rest assured that their service was continuing as normal for the time being.
But on the way to work the call came to say that yes, in fact their service was passing over to Acme, due to my concerns they would hold it over the weekend as normal but that Acme would start on Monday lunchtime and do the assessment alongside their first visit to Nick. Apparently the social worker had authorised this and signed it off. What? Without any kind of handover or prior assessment?
“I need to speak to her immediately!” I said.
“Yes, that’s what I tried to do”, said the very nice duty manager, “but she’s on holiday now until the end of the month.”
This does not bode well. It is double plus un-good. Am I being precious because it’s my brother and I want him to have a VIP service? Or am I just expecting things to be done in a professional manner?
*not their real name. Might be giving the real one in due course - we’ll see how we get on…