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November 10, 2014

Regular readers of this blog will know that following my wife’s death, I have sold the old family home and am in the process of buying a flat that I will use both for my respite nights and for my counselling practice.

The good news is that I pick up the keys on Friday and the furniture will be delivered a few days later. It will be all ready for work, rest and play (Ive treated myself to a home gym) a fortnight today.

On Friday, I emailed Steven’s social worker to let her know this and to see how the revised care plan was coming along. I got a response this morning.

Panel have only agreed two nights instead of three. But weirdly, I was informed that the revised personal budget would have to be amended because “you have already received your buffer”.

What is a buffer?

Have I been buffered and not noticed?

I have no idea what this means. Then I started to put two and two together (possibly making 86). Was the ” buffer”, the extra 6 nights I was “awarded” back in May when Julie died? It was a horrible time and I was extremely grateful for the additional support. Steven was struggling with the loss. So was I. Having nearly a week of extra help was brilliant.

If I’m right and that is what the buffer was, is that right? Is it legal? I didnt actually ask for the extra support in May – the social worker offered it and I was made up by her kindness. But that a need six months ago. This is a new need that hasn’t existed until next week. Nobody ever told me about a buffer before, let alone, that the buffer could be offset against future need.

Needless to say, the tactic does the trick. I’ve been feeling guilty all day. I keep poking myself with thoughts like: “Am I being unreasonable?” “Am I being greedy?” I guess the system relies on carer’s guilt in order to bypass statutory duties. And they know they have me over a barrel. There’s no way I’m going off to the flat for a night, leaving Steven at home on his own.

Still, at least I’ve added a new phrase to my Carespeak book – the personal budget buffer.

From → Social Care

  1. This doesn’t make sense. Buffers seem only to refer to income disregards. I hope she explains herself. As for feeling guilty – you are one of the most devoted, unselfish fathers I have ever come across. And everyone needs sleep to function. I fear they are taking advantage of you. Perhaps you could invite one of these makers of decisions over for a sleepover!

  2. Been reading twitter. There is a new need – Steven had to come off his medication as it was damaging his health. As a consequence he sleeps less at night, and therefore needs more care at night.They can’t deny either of these facts.

  3. Weary Mother permalink

    A ‘Buffer’ ? Is?

    Is it something to cover crises? Is it finite, and if too many crises the next ‘buffer’ is the last one…..and then you die?

    Help me understand… any one.?

  4. Don’t think they have a leg to stand on legally, but as always it comes down to who blinks first. They have conceded that Steven needs night time care, so it comes down to can you be bullied into providing it, for fear of the consequences if you don’t. It is a neat trick, and works most of the time. Presumably the buffer is as you surmise for emergencies, but doesn’t change their obligation to meet a need.

  5. Sally permalink

    No idea here either. I know we are not in the land of rational thought, but,why 3 rather than 2 nights? Steven’s requirements have changed.
    If a buffer is a once off payment then you needed to be told that before you used it up.
    Its a nice term-suggests the padding you might put around a boat before mooring it.It just makes no sense at all.Worrying that the SW didn’t think the term needed expanding upon.

  6. I also have no idea what a “buffer” is. But if you ever find out,please do a blog post on it! If it is a contingency for acute, short term emergencies, then surely it can’t be counted when assessing a new, long term need??? Or is that just to obvious and logical?!

  7. Years ago a group of us parents were campaigning to save some centres in our county that gave us a break (respite we called it then…but it’s a dirty word now) one of the mums was battling cancer and sadly lost her battle and left two young kids, one of whom was profoundly disabled. Her husband got some support initially (not enough I thought) and then it stopped…the term ‘buffering’ wasn’t used then but the same system was clearly at play. So shit!! Whatever happened to ‘needs led’ support?

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