In the shoes of Gill’s Mum… | Back on the rails. Full steam ahead … ;-)

Mum is delighted to be home. Not just home, but pretty much back to normal now. It has been quite a saga, as you can imagine. I am not quite sure what she really made of my #FreeGillsMum Twitter campaign when she became a ‘delayed discharge’, bedblocker or other catchy term of endearment – other than that it was effective and she was very grateful.

My Steller story got about 50,000 views so certainly struck a chord with a lot of people. As for Mum, it certainly put a sparkle in her eye when our Twitter friends sent her flowers and other lovely little tokens of love and encouragement. Not to mention the Ukrainian and Mongolian armies, Scottish bands and even a Trojan horse – thank you everyone!

And, most importantly,  the fact that mum was beginning to decline again in hospital (especially after staff started telling her that she “didn’t need to be here”) and has positively flourished since returning home justifies the ‘guerilla tactics’ I think.

I have been in awe of Mum’s feistiness and determination as she has re-gained different skills. There is something very special indeed about that war-time generation. She has systematically dispensed with the services of the various members of the re-ablement team, a.k.a ‘the derailment team’.

It is quite funny and fascinating to compare their version of things in the ‘official’ notes and Mum’s version of things. And pretty depressing really to see so many different people write down variations of “all Mrs R wants now is help in the shower” without actually managing to provide it in a way that is acceptable.

Anyway, mum says that she really appreciates being back HERE and doesn’t even mind that the minestrone soup still has too many bits in it!

Reablement service 2 IMG_1169This is what Mum says…

There are so many different people, I don’t know who does what. But the key people since I came home seem to have been the derailment team. There have been about 30 of them all told, generally friendly and helpful, and between them they have put me back on the rails.

I have had more assessments than hot dinners and sometimes felt like a performing seal. They have watched me walking. They have watched me making a cup of tea. They have watched me in the bathroom. Not very nice really. I just want to be left alone and I’m lucky now to be able to do most things myself again. But I realised that I still needed help in the shower.

I was really cross yesterday. Two people turned up and woke me up before 8 a.m. I was having a really bad dream and then suddenly, in real life, two people were there by my bed. I found it very disconcerting. Wouldn’t you?

Shower sleeve. IMG_1180They announced that they had come to give me a shower. It was really early, I don’t normally get up until 9 a.m these days. After all, at my age what is the rush?

I don’t think I had seen either of them before. One of them was a man and I had already said very clearly that I didn’t want a man to assist me. I thought that was a bit much.

I’m frightened of the bathroom as this is where I had a fall, so I would like someone to help me in the shower – but not at 8 a.m when I am still asleep.

It is hard to know what to say in these situations. They said they would come back later in the week but if I didn’t have a shower then, I wouldn’t get offered one again. She seemed to have the authority. I am not sure what will happen.

In contrast, I have just had a lovely GP visit me for an ‘over 75 assessment’. Yes, yet another assessment. It has taken them 18 years it seems!

The over 75 assessment seems to be something that the government has suddenly thought up. But a good idea, I think, if they actually talk to people and find out what would help them before it is too late.

Anyway, this young GP was really helpful about everything and we had a very nice chat. He seemed to be able to make things happen. He said if I didn’t get my new pills soon, he would go and get them personally for me! It was really sweet of him. Who knows – perhaps it will make them even more effective?

Mum - Oliver on ipad IMG_1273And now we have a new interest in our lives. Baby Oliver. Mum is as thrilled to be a great-granny as I am to become a granny. New adventures await and the birth of this gorgeous little boy puts everything else into perspective. 🙂

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives.
This entry was posted in Blogs, communication, compassion, Gill's Mum, Guest blog, health, personalisation, safeguarding, TLAP - Making It Real, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to In the shoes of Gill’s Mum… | Back on the rails. Full steam ahead … ;-)

  1. Dorothy Hall says:

    What is frightening is how terms like ‘bed blocker’ are part of the language of care of the elderly. Gills Mum is representing what all of us over 70 dread about our potential health care.
    We are victims of mixed messages, on the one hand we are constantly bombarded by statistics about the cost of care of the elderly, on the other hand social care & health education talks about compassion & respect.The NHS will never work effectively if provision for care in the community is not funded or managed properly. I speak with horrified anticipation & understanding following a career starting as a nurse in the NHS then as a social worker, Community Care budget manager & now as an older person.


    • Thank you so much for your important comment, Dorothy. And the key thing to remember is that you are now an ‘older person’ (if you insist!!) but ALSO all the things you were before and still are – a WHOLE person. This is the bit the NHS and social care often still need to understand – only then will they stop seeing “Bed D1” as a “bedblocker” or “medical outlier” (another communication gem that was thrown our way.

      More imaginative commissioning is imperative. So much money is wasted by complicated processes with everyone recording what should happen next … but nobody it seems to ‘JFDI’ and make it happen. So proud of my Mum for telling a first hand account – quite rare I think at 93 – we need to listen to people and understand how these things FEEL. Is refusing to have a shower with a strange male attendant at 8am a matter of ‘compliance’ or perhaps compassion, empathy, dignity and respect?


  2. Jill Pay says:

    What a mixed experience! Shocked they sent a man to help with personal care … my stepmother is going through similar following a fall and broken shoulder – she’d be horrified if a man came in! Even with pressure on services there’s no need to ride roughshod over people’s wishes and sensitivity at point of delivery.

    Wishing you all the best – and congratulations on the new baby!



    • Thanks Jill – and indeed. Mum got her shower today. Two very nice women. 🙂 It sounds as if they (not necessarily the same people) might come back again for the next couple of days. Showers are like buses, it seems…
      Yes, I am a proper ‘club sandwich’ now – the joys and worries of four generations! 🙂


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