Guest Blog - Lin Henry, Aequus Consulting (OT)
The “uncaring face” of Social Services
This month’s blog is giving a voice to a disabled woman and her experience of being disabled in 2015. In this, we can get an idea of how effectively disability services are supporting people who need their support.
“I am disabled and have had a care package for many years because I can’t use my hands properly and have trouble standing or walking.
Now that Social Services are having their budgets squeezed, they are trying to cut down my care package. They are reassessing me by getting the Care Coordinator to watch whilst the carer washes me and helps me get dressed.
They tell me that I should wear big socks and I should not wear fashionable clothes but baggy ones that are easier for the carer to take off.
They told me that I have to use a trolley to carry my food from the kitchen although I am reliant upon a walking frame. I fall on a regular basis because I have balance problems, what will happen if I fall whilst pushing the trolley indoors?
I feel scared as I thought that the Social Workers and OTs were there to help me; instead I feel that they are against me and that their main concern is saving money. They don’t treat me like a person but see me as a problem to their budgets.
I understand that they need to explain what money they spend on people but do they have to be so unfriendly and seemingly accusing me of taking services that I don’t deserve? Is it right that when I say I want to wash everyday, they tell me I have to make do with one wash a day? Why don’t they want to listen to me about my needs?
Over the years, my condition has got worse but instead of getting more help as my needs increase, I am getting less support. This means that I have to either go without a wash or something to eat, unless my family can help.
I don’t know whom to turn to now for the support to fight this injustice. I know that there are other disabled people who will be going through this stress as well. I just hope that the people in charge of these services realise that one day, it could be them. I used to be a nurse and I tried to give the best nursing care to all my patients. I hope that one day, we can go back to the days when people in the caring services, do what it says on the tin, which is provide........ Care."
Words of disabled woman, Birmingham, West Midlands
This is a troubling account on one person’s experience of the system; reading this will help us question the system we work within. We have to ask ourselves if the Social Care system is able to deliver all the things it promises, such as personalised care support for the person’s well-being.
The Care Act 2014 comes into force on 1st April 2015; the principle of promoting well-being is key to the function of Social Care. It could be argued that such cost cutting exercises not only contradict the principle of wellbeing, but it also increases the possibility of cost shunting to the NHS, the voluntary sector and the family.
If Social Care does not support people, they will no doubt, deteriorate to the point where they need a hospital admission, and thus creating more burdens on the NHS. We all need to work with the local councils to ensure that the scarce resources are used effectively. Local councils need to ensure that they do not forget one of their key functions that came from the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, which is to monitor the number of people in need and provide for them.
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