Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Moving (part 1)

Around 18 months ago we decided to move.

We were living in the region Jr had done most of his growing up and had a lovely old cottage out in the middle of nowhere. It was brilliant for him as he felt comfortable to go out a lot and got plenty of exercise but various other things started getting on top of him and he ended up telling me he needed a break and was thinking about getting sectioned for a while. We had a long chat about what his options were and one of them (the one he chose) was to move back to the area he was born, where my Mother still lived. She is getting on a bit and will need someone around soon so he knew I'd have to move back eventually so we decided to move here.

Now obviously as far as my Son's care there was plenty to arrange so we decided to move in about 3 months so there was plenty of time to sort everything out and ensure there were no gaps in his care. We told the various departments up there what was happening and as we had an address in the new area to use we registered with everyone down here a while before we moved and by the time we came to move we'd already had all the 'introductory' appointments so everything was set. We did a lot of work to ensure that his progress wouldn't suffer but it was a complete waste of time and effort.

Firstly the Mental Health Unit in the new area had at no point contacted his previous Unit and so knew nothing about him other than what we'd said in the introductory appointment. They had no notes for him at all when we moved and in fact all my son's notes then 'went missing in transit'. They then informed us they had no occupational therapists (rather vital for a mental health unit you'd have thought) and suggested other things for him, which included attending a unit that would try and help with his confidence etc. Not what he needed at all (he needed/needs one to one care rather than group therapy) but they said they'd arrange more treatments for him. Apart from that all they were initially offering was a community nurse to see him from time to time, and (very) occasional appointments with a psychiatrist.

I knew full well that he needed more than this, and said so, but was blocked at every turn. Even worse was the funding for the paltry care they agreed to. They couldn't let him start at the unit they arranged until finding was approved and that took another three months. Not three weeks – three months during which he was getting no meaningful help at all. In fact it should have only been two months but the funding people through out the claim as someone had transposed 2 numbers and as they only meet once a month that was how long that delay took. Also, please remember this was long before any of the current planned cuts to services and funding.

As I've mentioned my son is socially phobic and suffers from selective mutism (which means he can't talk when there are any people other than those he trusts most around) but to be fair the community nurse was starting to get something from him and make a relationship by getting Jr to fill out various charts. Obviously continuity of care is vital but just as they were starting to strike up a rapport he informed us that there would be a new community nurse from the next appointment. Of course, as you'd expect, there was a very good reason for the change. Well, no there wasn't at all – it was merely that the 'new' person was bored with working in the unit and wanted to go out more! She was absolutely awful, with a complete inability to listen to the extent that when she came round for the second appointment and referred to the first one she'd got everything absolutely and completely wrong. That made the second appointment a complete blow out but she managed to make it worse. She asked why we both seemed a bit stressed and I replied that it was because we didn't feel as though we were being listened to. Well I tried to reply but half way through she cut in and spoke over me. At that point Jr was too stressed to continue and I politely asked her to leave.

I'll tell you what we went through after than tomorrow.


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