We’ve been looking back, and revisiting some of the records that members of our Reablement Team made during early lockdown, describing their visits to vulnerable clients at home.
Our Social Care Reablement Team perform an amazing job, providing short-term support (usually up to three weeks) for adults who need help to remain independently living in their own home.
Most referrals come directly from hospitals when patients are ready to be discharged.
These are real life stories describing real people. Some will make you smile, others less so:
“I was visiting a gentleman who was struggling with his health. He was 99 years old and coming up to his 100th birthday at the end of June. I wanted to make his birthday special as I knew I would be visiting him that morning.
“His daughter had spoken to one of our team leaders and expressed that her dad had become very low in mood & feels like he’s ‘giving up’ but she had arranged a small surprise celebration at his home for his 100th birthday which she hoped would boost him up again.
“It certainly did! He received over 100 cards, including the one from me and the balloons I bought him brought a huge smile to his face. He was visited by some friends and family – from a distance – and he even had a film crew there and made in onto the local news on TV!”
Lisa Lynn’s story (Team Leader Social Care Reablement)
“I was visiting a client, who lived alone, to review his medication paperwork and update it so our support workers could continue to administer it. This client had just had a visit from his GP that morning who had informed him he was being referred to the palliative care nursing team and the client had expressed his wish to remain at home. We were chatting and I spent quite some time with him, partly searching his kitchen cupboards for his favourite biscuits (I failed when I produced a tin of crackers!), I listened to his stories of his past and he showed me a tapestry his wife had made before she passed and how he was going to hand it down to his granddaughter.
“At this point the door flew open and in ‘bounced’ our support worker Lucy to make his lunch. I explained the doctor had just visited and the news he had been given. Lucy has a huge personality and it was clear the client was thrilled to see her.
“She spent time chatting with him and managed to put a positive spin on the whole situation. Lucy bounced (again) into the kitchen to prepare his lunch and it was at this point the client pointed out a large digital clock that Lucy had given to him a few weeks earlier as he could no longer read the time on his watch.
“He winked at me, smiled a huge smile and said:
“This girl has brought sparkle back to my life.”
“I was the first to visit a client on her discharge from hospital at the beginning of lockdown. She was feeling scared at the prospect of not being able to see her family and was worried about being isolated. Her fridge was full of rotting food. I cleared it all out for her, went and bought her a few items and arranged a food delivery service.
“Sensing she was going to struggle I chatted about what she liked to watch on TV. She mentioned a programme she had enjoyed but hadn’t seen it all, remembering it was called ‘The Crown’. I did some research and realised it was on Netflix. With her consent I organised for her to have Netflix installed and when I visited her again, I found her thrilled to have discovered there were 4 seasons of it and she was happily binge watching it! She made great progress with us.”
“A client I was visiting was finding isolation very hard and was feeling scared with all the news on TV about COVID-19. She needed the security of her family and they arranged for her to move up country to stay with them. She was worried about stopping at the motorway services and being at risk of picking up the virus and thought it best to take some snacks and drinks for the journey. She didn’t have much in the house to pack up and so on moving day I bought her some snacks and a reusable water bottle with a straw as her leaving gift from me. It was warmly received and hopefully made her a little less anxious about the journey.”
Eddy Broadhurst’s story (Occupational Therapist in Social Care Reablement)
“During these unusual times, our ways of working have needed to be reconsidered and adjusted, especially joint working; in order to ensure guidelines are adhered to amidst working in a pandemic. I feel technology – particularly video chat platforms have allowed me to do this.
“I completed a joint virtual home visit to complete an Occupational Therapy assessment with a client. The client returned home from hospital and now needs to use a wheelchair at all times and was not able to access essential facilities around their home.
“With the virtual presence of OT and the physical support of a Reablement Team Leader we were able to obtain the client’s strengths and needs, observe the client around their home and gather essential measurements of the home and their wheelchair in order to inform the next steps. I established the client would benefit from major home adaptations of doorway widening and ramped access to ensure safe and independent access to essential facilities and the community. I was able to complete the necessary paperwork and sent it to the client via email. They were able to apply an electronic signature which I then sent to the relevant District Council to be processed as an urgent recommendation.”
Sue’s story (Support worker)
“Sue, went along to an evening visit as usual. She parked up and started to get her PPE out of her car to prepare for the visit.
“As she was putting on her apron and mask a group of youths started shouting “Germ Spreader !!!” over and over. Sue ignored it and although feeling intimidated went into her visit and delivered her usual, wonderful support.
“On returning to her car she found it had been smeared, from the windscreens, to the boot, to the door handles in dog faeces.
“I do not really know how to continue to write about this experience in a professional way and so I’ve decided not to comment on how I felt to hear about this and will leave you to come up with your own thoughts.
“Sue, however, bravely and with a lump in her throat, cleaned her car with her anti-bacterial wipes and continued on to her next visit.”
Graham’s story (Social Care Reablement Team Leader)
“On a very busy, 10 hour duty, I received a call from a support worker, who was visiting a client, to say she could hear a cat meowing but couldn’t find it; the client had not seen her cat since returning home from hospital!
“Obviously alarmed, I prompted the support worker to follow the sound “It’s somewhere in the kitchen” she said. Realising the cat had climbed on top of a kitchen cupboard and had somehow fallen and got stuck behind it and may have been there for some time, I decided to call the RSPCA. To my disappointment, during lockdown, they were unable to visit.
“I decided, despite being allergic to cats, I would go to rescue the cat and to try and keep my allergy under control, I equipped himself with full PPE, including goggles and a very padded winter coat and drove to the clients house. I was greeted with a rather aggressive, upside down, crazy eyed cat that really did not seem to want to be rescued. I climbed the kitchen units and despite being clawed several times successfully rescued the cat and took it to a local vet.
“Owner and cat are doing well.”