There is a little old lady. She sits alone in her house. Mainly she stays in one room – there is no radio, there is no television.
She sits at her table and shuffles paper.
She has a mild form of dementia.
Some carers arrive, they give her some medication. They change her incontinence pad, they get her dressed and washed.
Meals on wheels arrive, she has something to eat.
In the evening there are more carers, they change her incontinence pads and give her some night medication. They put her to bed.
She lives, isolated in her house.
Her carers don’t like her because she shouts and she repeats herself.
One day she falls over. She is found by her carers.
So the ambulance service is called. We pick her up, but she doesn’t want to go to hospital.
We watch the carers bully her so that they can change her soiled incontinence pad. The carers are aggressive. Their tone of voice and the words that they use are harsh.
Our patient tells us that the carers that visit in the morning have hit her. Given the attitude and actions of the carers that I have seen this doesn’t surprise me.
We contact her daughter – this isn’t the first time that she has made this claim, her daughter has reported it to the social services.
We leave the patient, we cannot kidnap her. We return to station where we fill out a ‘vulnerable adult form’ – this goes off to our Control where it is dealt with by a specialist team.
A week later I’m asked to phone the social services person dealing with the case.
They ask me what I’ve seen, what I’ve heard.
Explaining over the phone it feels that trying to express the atmosphere in the house is impossible.
But for once I have faith in the social worker, I don’t know why but I do.
I don’t know yet how this story ends.
The little old lady needs people to not hit her, she needs company, she needs care.
Maybe our attendance will be the tipping point that will start that care. Maybe the social services needed to hear from someone else the reports of abuse? Maybe the carers tip-toe around the daughter when she is there, maybe something will get done.
I hope so.
Right – that’s it, I’m out of ambulance stories and I have a week off work. I’m going to try and post every day – but I just don’t know what about. Regular service will soon be resumed. You have been warned.