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Long distance social worker appointment?

Probably not the right forum to put this on but I value your opinions. I am worried about an appointment that has been set up for tomorrow PM for our neighbour/friend who is being investigated for Alzheimers.

Following a GP visit as he had missed another doctor's apptment (we were unaware of it and had asked if we could be informed of future events as our friend loses/hides/forgets paperwork )my partner had a call from a social worker to say she would be ringing again at 2PM to discuss the possibility of home help regarding meds etc.and would like to hold a three way phone call between myself,partner and friend.She had apparently struggled with understanding my partner's voice(stroke),I struggle with tinnitus and I feel our friend may not keep track of the proceedings as it is not face to face.Can't get my head round this one.Has anyone heard of such a thing ?Are resources so scarce that assessments are now conducted by phone ?

Angela x

36 Replies

I assume that SS must already have met him before and assessed him as I have never heard of them doing a telephone assessment before and think that surely it must only to be to suggest a care package that could be offered?? Is your friend able to say no I would like a face to face appointment or do you have authority to act on his behalf (as you are being involved in his care) to say this is not appropriate for any of us to do it by phone? If it was an initial assessment then I am sure they would be visiting him at home and would need to see his environment to complete their assessment.


Thanks, Strawberry . Yes,it seems he must have had an initial assessment already-please see my update below. x


Yes rescources are scares. Every department is pushed to limits.

They do phone consults to try and fit more people into the limited time they have. Not always the best for people like your friend.

Not always the right way to go about these things but better than nothing.


My fatherin-law has vascular demeture and it has been a constant uphill battle to get the care he needs. He is currently in a dementure ward in hospital waiting for furthe assesment and despite him repeatedly trying to 'escape' from the ward and repeatedly telling them that there are carers booked twice a day at his home which are wasted because he barricades the door so they can't get in despite the key safe.

All I can suggest is to keep fighting and requesting a face to face.

It was our local medical practice that finally managed to get him into hospital in the hope that the pressure on bed space would force the issue. To me it's very much wrong that you have to result to 'bed blocking' to get the care needed for vulnerable people.


Thanks, sporan,it seems he may have already been assessed-please see my update below x


Hi Sporan,

Many thanks for your kind words in your latest reply-only one problem,it seems to have disappeared into a black hole !Should be further down on this thread but no sign ?

If I remember correctly,you were about to get your father in law assessed for placement in a residential home.

Sadly , I am wondering how far off P will be from this lately.The crisis team seem to have been taken over by the Reable team.While Crisis were brilliant and made P take his meds in front of them before they would sign the staff book,Reable seem to have a relaxed attitude and take P's word that he has had meds .Clearly something amiss as I found him using a part used tablet wallet (all the AM ones for 7 days were gone,all tea and PM still present ) on Wed night after we had taken him shopping (had left note in window for carers to say we were out and would ensure night meds were taken ) Don't know where this had been hiding -I had left a new complete one with my writing on for the start of this week.Bit concerned as he is a type 2 tablet controlled diabetic.

Today,my partner had 2 phone calls from Reable ( ? )to say that Peter did not want a third PM carer and said he would manage meds himself .E (Partner ) replied that he might say this but would be unlikely to do so.She then asked if we could oversee the night meds ourselves ?My partner explained that 7 days was not practical due to work and other evening activities-maybe a couple.I was quite horrified when he told me later.We go shopping after my evening job 2-3 times a week for neighbours,to my Dad's or sisters on a Sunday night and out for a meal occasionally-we would have to cut short all of these to be available 7 eves per week for P.I thought the idea was for them to have responsibility for this ?

E suggested to ask GP if tabs could be condensed to twice daily-surgery had said no,spacing was necessary.E then asked if they could move the PM slot up earlier ,if P would be happier with that-Reable will look into it.She mentioned again that P was having trouble with his neighbours,even though I have already assured them that his delusions are part of his symptoms.I am surprised they are not more clued up about dementia patients,they must surely have some on their books !

Spent 3 hours sorting thru stuff at P's,only managed to hoover a bit of bedroom-no pipes for vac so using tube end-very slow and hammers my spasticity.I am thinking we can maybe get some pipes/foot from a vac shop to fit sometime between jobs.Could take my own -fine if E available with car,too heavy for legs on my own . The carers seem happy to sit and chat with P and ask if he wants anything doing but he says no.As we both well know,you need to suggest/prompt an activity with dementia-I'll just wash these few pots if that's alright,shall we sort this recycling while we chat ? sort of thing.

Do you know if there is a special carers service dedicated to dementia clients or is it just a broad one size fits all type of thing ?

Another long ramble from me !Thanks for reading,hope you are well, Angela x


Hi Angela,

World a funny place and the computer world even stranger.

A local care home has been out and done an assesment on father-in-law and say he should be in a specialist care area, something they have and currently have capacity for. The assesor is going to make the phone calls tomorrow and seemed confident they would be alout to take him.

The carer service that he had at home were linked to our regional health service and were, supposedly, specialists in dementia care, but as you have found, they seem to be restricted by so many rules and regulations that it is difficult for them to a) be there at a set time, b) get permission to dispense drugs unless in a pharmacist loaded and sealed dossette box, and c) spend the right amount of time with him.

We had a local private carer doing PM vists an she was marvelous. She would make sure he ate the food that was left prepared for him, could get him to take his meds in front of her with now fuss and she would take him out and about sometimes down to her stables where he would often help with grooming and mucking out, sometimes he didn't feel like it so would sit in the car and watch, but the experienced really helped. The private carer also wrote up PROPER visit notes in hai log the 'special heath service carers' (there were two) one would leave not of fewest word poss and the other would write a proper report but appologise for the lack of time available!

As for me I'm tired but my poor wife even more so, being my taxi, carer, full time worker as well as helping with her dat and our granddaughter.

Hope you manage to keep well and can get the help you need. It is a fight but with persistance you can sometimes get there.



Worked a treat !This thread is so weird on my laptop.

P's tablets are in a sealed dossette box (hadn't heard this term before ) so there should not be a problem.

Since P has only state pension and small private one at present (awaiting Attendance Allowance forms )and we are only just managing financially, there are no funds for a private carer.Some of the girls they send do seem very young,so maybe inexperienced/less confident.

I have been clobbered with another minging virus so not as useful as I should be right now.Sewn his trousers (hem had come down causing him to trip )and washed them but finding the physical stuff hard (viruses send my spasticity loopy ! )so having to sit (and sweat !) this one out at the mo.

Good news about your father in law - I can empathise with your own and your family's fatigue.

Take care all, Angela x


Hi Angela,

With the dossette boxes for father-in-law we put them in a locked cahbox so that he couldn't get them and put a key for it in the key safe with the door key for carers and kept one to reload the box each month. That seemed to work a treat.

Glad to hear from elsewhere on this thread that thing are now moving along at a good pace and finally being sorted out.

Remember amongst all this you do need to make sure that you get some 'me' time to just chill out, difficult I know with you circumstances but essential if you are to avoid total burnout.

Kindest regards




I currently retain the meds at my house and take a week's box down on a Sunday.This worked fine with the Crisis team as they insisted he take them in front of them before they would sign the book.Reable seem a bit hit and miss on this,though.

Not much option but to chill out at the mo-virus so bad its ridiculous !Ended up off work-first time since the 'biggie'.Took holiday leave as the rules around sick leave are severe these days -warnings for more than 1 absence in 3 months ,frightens you to death as you never know when you may need it !

Put bins out last night in minus whatever in a vest !Never even felt it !Traditional advice is to take paracetomol for temperature but if you look up how the immune system functions you realise that your body puts the temp up as viruses find it harder to multiply in higher temps.So I tend to only take something when necessary for head pain etc -kind of wonder if you can prolong things if you allow the virus to breed more by lowering temp all the time ,as immune system has more to fight ?Stuffing supplements down-something has to help sooner or later !Not been near P's,he doesn't need this !

Take care, Angela x


Several years ago my wife had a really serious bout of flue (she was border line for hospital). I phoned doctor and had GP vist in middle of night with 2 inches of frozen ice and snow on the road (minus 7 I think), those were the days when a doctor actually came out, and the first thing the Doctor did was take all the bedding off apart from a thin sheet and opened the bedroom window to it's widest and told her to take paracetamol every four hours, drink plenty of clear fluids and to NOT wrap warm because by reducing the body temperature below certain level the virus will die. Warmth and damp she said would incubate and accelerate the virus. Apparently they grow viruses to produce the vaccines an to see what it is by warming them up.

I'm not medically qualified but just passing on what Doc said at that time, probably 15/20 years ago now.

Advice from a pharmacist for colds is usually as good as doctor and if doctor visit needed they will usually tell you (pharmacist NOT counter staff).

Hoping you are soon on the road to a full recovery.

All the bestest



Hi Geoff,

I read your reply with interest -it would appear that both cold and heat extremes put the virus molecules into hibernation.

Having had a scout round the old interblock ,virus particles can remain inert for some time until coming into contact with a host.We breathe,swallow or contract by skin wound into our body where they attach to a host cell and inject their genetic material into it ,recruiting our enzymes to make viral copies.These break free from our cell to go forth and multiply in the same way.In effect,they are nothing short of parasites that use us as a factory to further their species-I am thoroughly despising them after learning this !Kind of like Invasion of the body snatchers in microscopic form !

Our immune system hikes up the temp to a point where they can't function,while it annihalates the existing copies.Equally,excessive cold also stops reproduction.So yes, I understand your doc's view..There seems to be two schools of thought on the use of paracetomol-it offers comfort and reduction of symptoms but others believe it can also prolong symptoms by producing a more suitable temp for viral production.So I guess the jury is still out on this one!Fascinating stuff,shame I diverged from the path of science to become a cleaner !Oh well,perhaps in the next life ( if indeed there is to be one -another discussion in itself ! )

Anyways,tonight I am feeling more like myself after 2 days of wheezy bedrest, ( I am avoiding looking at the laundry/recycling/washing up stack that has magically appeared ! ) and hope to rejoin the ratrace again tomorrow : )

I would just like to congratulate my immune system for getting the job right ! Big up your (less wheezy)chest,immune system-respect : ))

Angela x


Well all I can say is your virus is you own fault... being a cleaner you should have vacuumed the little blighters up and give THEM the headache bouncing down that corrugated tube lol ;-)

I can sympathise with your dilema over the clear-up at home. Must be soul destroying to do the clean up all day at work then come home and do the same :-( especially when poorly.

When I was lorry driving I'd do 13-15 hr days for 5 days a week every week with no regular pattern, one day start at dentist time (tooth hurty) next at a reasonable 5 or six o' clock so when I cam home it was bed and sleep, band rehearsals or gigs.

One of the silliest gigs was on a wenesday after dentist start, home by 3:30pm wash, change, load gear travel hour and quarter unload set up, play till 12:30am or 1am (used to go to same venue wednesdays venue once a month) pack up drive hour and quarter home then get ready and go straight to work for 13 hr day. Thank god for redbull and coke (a cola that is) mixed (other energy drinks are available). Wife blames that behaviour and work hours for my brain tumour but obviosly no connection, just bad luck.


Hi Sporan,am replying to your previous post as I am unable to read your latest (laptop's perogative ! ) as this method brought up the rest of the replies last time .Fingers crossed...


Thanks,Danslatete, it seems he may have already had an assessment-please see my update below. x


Thanks,Danslatete,it seems he may have already been assessed-please see my update below x


It was only mentioned (yet again) on the News how Social Care is very under funded and resources so limited but I hadn't realized Danslatete that even initial assessment were being done by phone. Must leave SS very exposed to something serious going wrong if they haven't even seen and assessed home environments or met the person?!


I think it does help them to reduce their workload, my appointments with the job centre were held by phone when I initially applied for ESA, now there's barely any contact at all.

I think it would be better to have one in person in this case though xxx janet


Thanks,Janet,it seems he may have already been assessed-please see my update below. x


Many thanks for all your responses.As my laptop has just lost my last reply(gremlins again) I will write a little,post,then write some more-please bear with!


THe main issues with our friend( P ) are losing bus pass/bank card,(neighbours break in and steal things-delusions)so no travel or access to money,forgetting meds,forgetting appointments ,personal hygiene?Morbidly obese dog that RSPCA have organised diet,weigh ins at vets for(we have been unable to take him to any since Xmas as car radiator keeps boiling up on longer journeys).Had a two week phase of switching off his electric then telling us it was not working-seems to have left that alone for a while thankfully.New post now-just in case !


Has previously been offered an SS by GP but declined-everything fine,no need etc.He is a proud man and values his independence.In spite of us supplying diet dog biscuit and instructions/measure dog continues to put weight on and have seen evidence of additional feeding-worried that RSPCA will take his only companion/worried for dogs wellbeing.'Tis a rock and a hard place for sure.New post....


We have been doing our best to supply food/money when he 'loses' his bank card-have tried looking in house but messy and hard to search,give him access to our phone to cancel/reorder card(he has a mobile but says it doesn;t work).Last time he tried to cancel he was told he had not passed security test and denied.I suspect this is due to a number of cancellations in last few weeks.Need to know how access to money is controlled in these cases.

Need bills setting up on direct debit-behind I suspect.Needs more storage-still,no use if items are moved and hidden.So much required-not enough time/energy !

What a rambling purge of a post.Off to walk dog and think.Thanks. x


Was referred to Social Services by Headway and SS rang me in 2007, she asked 'are you taking your medication?' = I said 'yes'. Then she put the phone down and I never heard any more.

Later I thought: I said yes because I take thyroxine every day (under-active thyroid) but how would she KNOW I took that? Not her business t know, private. Then I thought, coz GP and hospital just said I was suffering from PTSD, did she mean the sleeping tablets I'd been prescribed?

Or, coz counsellor told me to tell GP to put me on valium (but he didn't, then) and coz hospital said (lied) 'nothing went wrong during op' = I was suffering only psychological problems = PTSD (and GP only put this on sick notes for my work and for DWP - even when I questioned: not ONLY that and he snarled 'well I've got to put SOMETHING') and GP and psychiatric nurse tried hard to push me to take antidepressants, did she mean or think I was taking them or others drugs for my PTSD?

All very confusing. And NOT for SS to know my medication. And NO questions about how I was (WASNT and GP knew) coping = referred by Headway. But I LOOKED like I was coping, that the problem?

Told Headway about this call from SS. No follow-up, zilch. Dumped. Still now. I know there are LOADS people far worse than me who don't get help and cut-backs SO awful when services were already not meeting needs.

And Headway are left to try pick up the pieces and fill the gaps = ABI one of the BIGGEST gaps. Awful.


Thanks, Muddled,please see my update below x


Hello and update : )

Yes, that is a smiley face !The conversation was mainly between myself,S worker and P.He has agreed (oh relief ) to allow a support worker to come 3 times a day for meds prompting.

Apparently,another person accompanied the GP on the visit yesterday-I assume this will have been to assess.I struggled a bit on phone and ended up in the quieter kitchen.P seemed happy to play ball with her requests.He even told us that his GP had mentioned the possibility of rehousing-he would not mind as long as he could take dog.Seems like the GP and companion have won his confidence.I think it is 'Crisis Team' ? that is arranging the help for tomorrow.SS also dealing with smoke alarm and looking into eligibility for Attendance Allowance.No idea on his financial situation-only bank statements we can find are years old.

I am back in charge of med blister packs-I had arranged to pick his months meds up myself from chemist so I could supply a weeks worth at a time to avoid loss/mix up of surplus packs and keep tabs on what was being taken.Sadly the chemist decided to deliver direct to P in month 2 so had started in 2 packs and even hidden one under mess on bedroom floor !There seem to be several carrier bags of loose blister tablets on floor so I intend to find out what is relevant and return rest to chemist for safe disposal.Will put note on my cupboard door to supply new meds on a Sunday.

Still no sign of bus pass and bank card-I rummaged a lot but mission impossible.Went to B and Q after work to buy plastic drawers/wallet files etc -hope to help tidy up at weekend.Bought P more shopping,(no toilet roll ?)even his favourite mouldy cheese that makes me shudder ! P will pay us back when he can draw out (needs identificationfor withdrawal in person-could be a challenge to find !))He is okay in that respect at the mo.I am knackered,bit broke but satisfied ! Thanks again all x


Updating the update !

Wow ,the crisis team really kick ass !(if you will excuse the backside reference)

Lady rang us to say she will be visiting P at 11 AM Monday to discuss finances and Attendance Allowance -we have the option of attending meeting.My partner is working but I am not until afternoon so will ask P if it is okay if I go.Couldn't be happier-need to think of list of questions to write down : )


Wow angelite your neighbour friend is mighty lucky to have such a helpful caring person as you and your partner living next door. sounds like you have achieved a lot since your initial post. Unfortunately he won't be able to reason out and always accept the help he needs because that's the nature of Alzheimer's. At times no doubt you are going to have more experiences of frustration and muddles with him. Don't forget to look after yourself too and don't take on too much to the detrement of your own wellbeing.

Best wishes x

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Thanks, Strawberry,

P is actually round the corner from us and a friend for years-my partner worked for him and so did I as a cleaner in the past !Regardlees of any former relationship we would do the same for anyone in need-its what we do.We can't be any other way : )

Its so great to have the official help on board now -will certainly take the pressure off a bit.Yea,I have already encountered the darker side of the illness but it is transient at the mo and he was back to his affable ,humerous self a short while after.

My immediate problem is a BT engineer scheduled for AM at my house to check phone line -living room looks like a bomb's hit it as junk has piled up with being busy !Ozzie the rabbit (freerange lounge ) will have to be locked in his pen - I am braced for a tantrum ! Hell hath no fury like a dwarf rabbit confined ! Can't do much about the lino offcuts on floor-they are well nibbled but I have to say he has talent,one place looks exactly like big boot Italy!Don't think I'll be featured in House and Home anytime soon !

Take care,Angela x


Hi Angelite,

My father-in-law is currenly in hospital (he has vascular dementure) and he thinks there is nothing wrong and keeps his back packed ready to leave. Fortunately he's on a proper dementure ward which has locked pass only doors. When we visit we have to wait for him to either go to the loo or make sure that a couple of staff are around to stop him following us out in his PJ's.

It's so difficult to deal with, squirreling things away then accusing family of 'nicking his stuff', 10 front door keys cut in last 6 months and when visiting (at his home) finding him makeing tea for someone who isn't there now 'don't know where they've gone'. As for carers he has two visits a day but they often can't get in because he barricades the doors so key safe is a bit of a waste of time.

We've got a family meeting at the hospital tomorrow and hope that a social worker will finally be assigned to him so that we can atleast get him into residential crisis care until a decision can be made to get him full time into residential care.

It's so sad because, as with P, he's a proud and independant man.

I do hope things soon sort themselves out but battling the system is a nightmare. We've been going around in circles because you get you must see x, who then says you must see y, then must see z to be referred back x!!!!

Good luck and my sympathies to you and to P for the difficulties you are suffering.

Bestest wishes



Hi Sporan,sorry to hear that your father in law's illness has progressed-he does sound to be at the stage of needing residential care.It is a sad and cruel illness.

One thing I have noticed with P is that you can be having a perfectly normal conversation then he will suddenly slip into'Those bstards over the road have been in again'.Mor recently,when I ask if he is sure the item is not just mislaid he has told me he has seen them himself,at night when he is in bed.This side of things worries me greatly -it upsets me to think he is getting distressed by this and no amount of answers (perhaps you were having a dream,not fully awake etc ) seems to persuade him otherwise.Diversion tactics sometimes help.

Had the meeting with LCC at P's-seems he is to have a free six week Reablement program,med prompting and wellbeing healthcheck.In the meantime he has the crisis support 3 times daily.Aform for Attendance Allowance is being arranged-as usual it was made quite clear that they cannot help with form filling so it will fall to me.(The blind leading the blind methinks !)The social worker was most concerned with her staffs health and safety as the place is untidy/needs a hoover-chair/kitchen counter piled up with various things etc.Asked if P wanted a one off clean-he declined so she wasthen asking me if I was available that day.Had to set her straight that I work(two jobs yesterday).Guess this is falling to me too !

Found P's D3 supplement in a drawer(he didn't realise the chemist had brought it) so he has had that for the week.

Going round this aft to see what I can do before my evening job-its going to be a mind blower !

Take care all, Angela x


With the form filling I think the CAB or one of the other support group admins may be able to help you.

Father-in-law has been assesed in hospital now (at meeting yesterday) and been told he needsresidential care, just waiting now for full mental capacity review as to whether he can go to general care setting or specialist care.

As for 'people' in the house, we've often been in to find him making three cups of tea. one for hisself an the others for ' Oh! They've gone now, they were here a minute ago'.

One of the care workers that visited got offered a cup of tea and watched him make it, he put a spoon of coffee in the cup then 2 used tea bags hung from the side of the cup.

It's a disasterous illness, not so much for the sufferer (at least in father-in-laws case, he's happy as larry) but the drain on the family is immense and I am tottally gob smacked that there are people out there, you in particular, that are prepared to voluntarily take on the care of a sufferer.

I do hope the situation improves on the support front for you very soon, but from your description P sounds like he isn't too far behind my father-in-law.

The hardest thing for the family has been the thought that he will be going from hospital straight into care and is unlikely to ever see his own home again. We havn't told him yet until we know for definite which ruout they will take. If he has to go to special unit he could end up miles away, depending on bed space.

All I can say is you deserve special praise and they should have special awards for people such as yourself that take on such terrible task.

Can I just say a heartfelt thank you on P's behalf.

Kindest wishes



Oh, Sporan , after I clicked on submit the rest of this page with your latest reply came up-weird !I am using a new laptop that my son has got me from his workplace,this never happened with the old one ?Confused.com : )


sounds dodgy to me... hope no personal information was given out over phone...just in case!


Thanks, Sambs but all seemed kosha and no personal stuff asked for.Just seemed unusual to me but then I have not really had dealings with a crisis team before.I guess they have to act quickly to put care in place for at risk patients.They are certainly well co ordinated and lias with one another-I find that very refreshing !P has had his first 3 carer visits today, as promised : )


pleased it was a genuine phoned rdv = concerned it could have been a scam, after I replied I was then able to follow through to your other posts and updates. Pleased for you also the gp was able to get things going and you seem to have a routine set up for your friend, which under the circumstances will hopefully help you all. Seems I'm not the only night owl!


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