Monday, 17 October 2011

In Sickness and in Sickness

We've been under this mental health unit for two and a half years now.

The unit psychiatrist has been on long term sick for most of that time and still is – no return date.

The CPN has been on the sick for around a month now after many short spells and is now on long term sick with no return date.

Unit manageress (who is supposed to be our contact there and is the third manageress since we've been here) – now on long term sick with no return date.

I have no idea what health problems any of these people have and am not in any way suggesting any of them are anything but genuinely sick, but how on earth can they provide continuity of care under these circumstances?

We are now in a situation where there is no one at all working at the unit who has the slightest first hand knowledge of my son. We have no appointments for when the therapy he's been having with his CPN will continue. We have no real contact at the mental health unit, and no idea as to when this situation will change.

We are basically on our own until goodness only knows when.



Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Duty of Care?

Really? Anyone? Working in mental health with the slightest inclination to provide a service? If there are, I'd love for some of them to come and work at Jr's unit because the sheer incompetence and lack of interest is staggering.

Four weeks ago we got a call to cancel an appointment he had with his CPN because the bloke was off sick. Fair enough, people get sick. It takes a long long time for Jr to build up any trust with people and to be fair this guy is (was?) proper so when I was asked if we wanted someone else to do the appointment we decided it would be at best pointless and at worse counter-productive. I did ask whether the sickness would be long or short term and was told they would know more after the weekend. Fair enough, so I asked her (the unit manageress no less) to call me after the weekend and keep us informed as to what was happening, which she promised faithfully to do.

This afternoon I got a call from her assistant (apparently the manageress is now on long term sick leave). Not about what was happening with the CPN, but asking why Jr hadn't been able to attend his music therapy for the last few weeks. Pardon? Yes, she said, he hasn't been for the last 3 weeks so they were wondering why. Except he has been going, every single week. There was a small incident 3 weeks ago where he had to leave after a short time because he didn't feel comfortable but the youth workers at the studio (nothing to do with mental health – straight youth workers) had worked out what the problem was and managed to solve it superbly and he hasn't missed another minute of a session at all. But, apparently the 'liason' from the unit had been down there every week and had noted Jr wasn't attending at all. Now before you think it might be easy to miss someone being there, firstly surely that would be hugely incompetent, but more importantly the sessions are run in a very small room so it would be pretty much impossible to miss someone sat there. Also Jr doesn't go for a break at all so he's always sat at his terminal working away. Shocking, absolutely shocking.

So after explaining that to her I asked about the CPN and why we hadn't heard what was happening. Now I could have phoned up and chased it but Jr was happy to let it ride and see how long it would take them to get back to us (as he didn't want to start with another person) so we waited. She was a bit surprised that no one had got back to us (we weren't) and said he was off for at least another 2 weeks when they'd know more. Obviously I have no idea what his reason for being of sick is and have no interest in speculating but the effect is that Jr isn't getting the treatment he so badly needs and no one can tell us what is happening. For someone who suffers from extreme paranoia it is so obviously wrong that he's just been left to his own devises yet again, with no real back-up plan.

She said she'd get back to me. I didn't hold my breath but amazingly 10 minutes later the liason called me to say that she had been to the sessions the last couple of weeks and that Jr hadn't. Obviously I pointed out that having taken him there, waited until he felt comfortable, and then gone back to collect him at the end of the sessions I knew for certain that he had been. She then told me he'd probably left the building without me knowing! Well firstly if you're going to put on someone's notes that they're not attending maybe it would be a good idea to check if he was really not there (even if he had popped out for a few minutes), but secondly and more importantly we're talking about someone so frightened by life that they can't come downstairs in their own house if the front door is open or if anyone is there. Am I supposed to believe for a second that this person would leave the building and wonder around town (the studio is pretty much slap bang in the centre of the town next to the market) alone? On market day? Come of it. More to the point I see the brilliant guy who is running the course at the end of each session and he always tells me how my son has been (because, to put it bluntly, he actually cares) so I know 100% that he's been there.

I'm sorry to those who find this blog pretty much unrelentingly negative, but that is what it's like dealing with Jr's mental health unit. If it wasn't so bloody serious I'd call them a joke.