Finally – I Meet A Rare Creature

It's sad I know, but in all my years working in healthcare I've never met a social services person who filled me with confidence. I'm sure that there are thousands out there, but it's just that they seem to hide under the table whenever I'm around.

So it was a real pleasure to meet a social care manager who actually gave a damn.

We were called to our patient, a woman in her 80's – let's call her Doris, by the social care manager.

The reason for us being there was to look at Doris' leg. One of them was described as 'black', and as we travelled up to the flat I wondered what I would see. I was grateful when it turned out to be lipodermatosclerosis, a condition where, due to problems in the veins of the leg, te leg turns dark and 'woody'. It's something I saw a lot of when I was gadding around with the district nurse service.

It's a chronic condition, and one that the Doris had been suffering from for some time. Unfortunately Doris is a little confused sometimes and so couldn't explain how long she had the condition.

Also in the flat with the social care manager was Doris' day helper – a carer who comes in three times a day to help wash, dress and do the little things around the house that need doing. I could tell that the social care manager wasn't too impressed with her, partly because of all the notes she was taking and partly because she told us so on the lift ride down.

The care manager had called us because (not being medically trained) she wasn't sure why Doris' leg was a funny colour. I also don't think that she particularly believed anything that the carer said about it.

The care manager also made a note of the heating of the flat, the rather shoddy windows, and tried to persuade Doris that she might enjoy visiting a day centre every so often. On the ride down in the lift, after Doris had told us that she didn't want to go to the hospital, the care manager explained how she hated that particular 'care' supplier, but that her hands were tied in that she could just select another one.

She also explained how she would need to 'be creative' in order to get Doris the care that she needed.

All in all I was impressed by the enthusiasm that she showed to her job – it was a real refreshing change and I left confident that Doris was in good hands.

9 thoughts on “Finally – I Meet A Rare Creature”

  1. It's not a completely isolated incident, this time last year I met a fantastic Care Manager. I'd been increasingly concerned about my very elderly and increasingly confused 90+ neighbour. Then last Christmas she first went out levaing her home unsecured and returned home to a young man making himself at home in her sitting room drinking her tea watching her TV who them tried to convince her it was his flat! Then 2 days later I returned home with the milk to find her wandering the street in her nightie crying telling me Sainsburys was shut and she wanted milk. They'd been shut for about 6 hours at that point. I hate meddling and agonised but called social services expecting them to be crap (We had appalling experiences of social services with my grandmother and eventually insisted on having the money and arranged her care privately.) but within 10 minutes the care manager had called me back and made a home visit to my neighbour that morning. She now has an excellent care package in place and the neighbourhood police team keep an eye on her. Her team of carers are also all lovely. The latest introduced herself to all the neighbours explained she would be in and out and in short my neighbour now has the care she needed and deserved. Sometimes social services are not copmpletely useless it restored my faith in human nature a bit.

  2. Nice one, it's good to hear she's engaged in doing her job as opposed to just timeserving for a salary. Quite unusual, these days….Re the good care workers hiding under the table, it's a bit like you never see the Camden Market hardcore goths, with the piercings and funny hair, in a supermarket – is this because they never eat, or do they have civvie clothes & wigs, or what?!

    Does my head in even thinking about it….

  3. They do exist. They're just very rare. We had a whole series of fantastic ones until my bro' turned 18 and moved to adult services. His first one there was so pathetic, she used to burst into tears at the thought of our difficulties. Which made it sort of tricky for her to actually *do* anything about them. Then she went on sick leave for 3 years. With no locum. Nothing. It's a good job his day and residential care providers are competent (and they are actually fantastic – well worth the years it took took to get his package sorted).

  4. Unfortunately social care is one of those professions where people only notice you when it goes wrong. If you're doing your job properly you're pretty well invisible.

  5. Its a shame that u only get nice people every now and again. should it not be the other way round. should u get the snotty ones every now and again.!

  6. How lovely! It really lifts the spirits doesn't it? I've been in my job 22 years and hope I am no less curious about people's stories and caring about them now than I was when I qualified. The thing that burns me out is the bad attitudes of some staff a lot younger than me in a variety of disciplines.I work with a terrific Social Worker at the moment but she's only in 3 half days a week 🙁

    Now…we need to find a few really wonderful care home nurses and managers… maybe we should fund a randomactsofreality readers award? Maybe a visit by Reynolds to present it would motivate a few to up their game?!

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