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Random Unjoined Lives

May 18, 2015

Lying in bed this morning, I browsed my Twitter timeline, I spotted a series of tweets calling for “joined up lives”. The tweeter was asking for all people involved in social care to come together and acknowledge and be respectful of all the lives they are connected to. ” Only by joined up practices can we give the people we support a decent life”. The language and power base leaves me a trifle queasy but I’m sure the aim is laudable.

As I’ve gone about my day, I’ve been reflecting on whether this joined up lives stuff is feasible. Here are a few lives I’ve encountered today:

1. Steven’s. After 2 weeks away, he went back to the Arts Center this morning. It was a morning filled with things important to him – A cherry bakewell, A chat with his mate Raj from the art group, T Rex on his compilation cassette, Learning the name of the new cab driver, Back home for the Perilous Pursuits of Mr Bean.

2. The Group. I went to Uxbridge to pay the direct payment tax bill and encountered a group of learning disabled people “accessing the community”. They had a couple of support workers with them and were window shopping at Boots. Half an hour later as I went past on the bus, they were still there. They hadn’t moved from the spot, still staring lifelessly at Boots window.

3. The Inclusion Champion. On the bus, I read a tweet from a committed believer in personalization. Her daily tweets are always energetically about the organization she is on her way to meet and the splendid work they are doing about inclusion. I picture her as a Joyce Grenfell on whizz.

4. Justice For LB. Today marked the launch of a fantastic Art Exhibition to celebrate Connor. I’ve been following the tweets all afternoon and its inspirational stuff. Someone said that the campaign is the coming together of the head and the heart. I agree but I’d add two other organs as well – the gut and the funny bone. A great group tackling another organ, the arsehole of Planet social care.

5. Norm. I caught a photo of the House of Commons and there was Norman Lamb squeezed into a backbench on the opposition benches. Was it only a month ago, he launched his green paper for social care? Where does that go now?

6. Mary. I got an email from a member of the Get Steven Home group. Her name is not Mary. She has recently been diagnosed with MS and she has asked the council for more support in caring for her adult autistic son. The Panel were meeting this afternoon to decide but she’d been tipped off by the social worker not to be too hopeful.

7. The Panel. I tried to imagine the Panel meeting but they are so secret I haven’t got a clue. I have an image of them all in Mozartesque masks. All identical. I picture them eating biscuits and getting through a dozen or so cases in an hour.

8. Mr Commissioner. I also try to imagine him weighing up the tenders he’s received for a young man who is deemed to have challenging behavior and whose council have insufficient local resources. I wonder how Mr Commissioner decides between Leeds or Swansea as a destination for this Cornwall based young man.

9. The CEO of Aspirations Care. I read yesterday how a care home run by Aspirations had all the residents removed overnight after the CQC reported concerns for their safety. I wonder if the CEO is working on putting it right or looking to maximize the income potential of the home.

10. The Direct Payments Manager. On Friday I dropped off: 260 pay slips, 60 time sheets, 12 bank statements and 624 cab receipts, so she could do her audit of Steven’s personal budget. I wonder if, today, she is going through all 956 pieces of paper with a fine tooth comb or has she thrown them all in the bin?

11. Me. I’m on my respite night tonight. I want to watch a DVD. Instead, I will be doing the April personal budget monitoring return.

How on earth does one begin to join up all these lives?


From → Social Care

  1. meg permalink

    We can’t. Yet we can try to link them together in a way that causes least stress to the object of all this thought, worry and administrative management, rather than just opting for the easiest and cheapest

  2. Pauline Thomas permalink

    Reading your recent post and acknowledging your hilarious insight into what is known as ‘social care’, I am wondering whether in fact we (the carers and cared for) are supporting them much more than they (commissioners and panel members) are actually supporting us. They are, after all. making a good living on the backs of our misery.

    • meg permalink

      Pauline, as a community support worker in adult LD I can only agree that we are all pawns, on the backs of whom many are making a very tidy sum. I once attended a panel meeting to discuss the support offered one of the adults I support (I loathe the term ‘service user’). I recall, as the lowest ranking of all the ‘professionals’ in the room, wondering what that meeting cost in wages/salary. There were 15 people including myself and I reckon half were 50k+ pa a few on 30k+ and me on under 19k. So quite a lot! Nothing was decided. Whole waste of time and money

      • Pauline Thomas permalink

        Exactly Meg. I have never personally found the ‘foot soldiers’ doing the actual hands on supporting to be anything other than courteous and caring. The people who supported my son through school, college and day centre were on the whole his friends. It was the people with all the power and none of the responsibility that needed to take a good hard long look at themselves. They did not listen to anybody but their paymasters. The paymasters answer to no one.

      • meg permalink

        And it will always be thus whilst anyone can make (rather than earn) money from social care, unfortunately

  3. AH the panel. I attended one once, the ccg and local council critise the organisation I work for for (acute mental health ward) for having people long term known as a “delayed transfer of care” i.e were not actively treating them but they need placement or support to return home and think they should remove funding from us for not moving them on quickly enough. but social care say its a health funding issue ccg funding panel its a social care funding issue . Nurse and social worker trying to get a care package into place bouncing between the two.

    Basically the social worker or nurse in my case need to “make a thorough assessment of need” make the case as watertight as possible and argue with the funding panel why such a high level of funding is required. then the wrestling match begins, why do they need care, why 1.1 , its a social care issue no its a health issue. feel like punching them (the panel) sometimes, to go home this person needs a package of care sort it out and then they can go home, because ya know they’ve been in an assessment unit for over a year just waiting for the funding to be sorted out. The next week the CCG finds this ward has to many delayed transfer of care patients grrrrr give them the funding to go home then

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