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.