On Sunday 9th December the BBC showed a “Drama from Jimmy McGovern about a struggling single mother who finds herself having to care for her elderly mother when the local health authorities refuse to take responsibility”.
If you saw this drama, you can’t fail to have been impressed by the performances given by the two leading actresses, particularly Alison Steadman as an active, energetic and glamorous older woman, supporting her daughters and grandchildren until she was suddenly struck down by a stroke that left her physically and mentally damaged and suddenly dependent on her family and the state for support. I was also impressed by the accuracy (overall) of the issues, the jargon used by professionals, and the barriers and confusion raised by the lack of information given and the fact that our NHS and Social Care systems are broken and badly integrated.
It did show that, on the whole, there are many good people trying to make the best of these broken systems. My main issues with it would be that (understandably) they had to shorten some of the time frames. Getting a Court of Protection Order can take months and cost a lot in terms of fees. This is why I urge all to have Lasting Powers of Attorney put in place. They make seem expensive at the time but his is nothing compared to a Court application.
I have to say, I was also rather surprised, especially for Jimmy McGovern, at the happy ending. Perhaps it was felt that as it is nearly Christmas this should be the case. In reality, the demeanour of the members of the appeal team and the outcome of the hearing were, I think, more than a little optimistic.
If you do manage to get a Continuing Health Care Assessment carried out, and then have to appeal the decision, again this can take months.
I work supporting families when they find themselves in this situation, although thankfully it is not usually such a sudden and catastrophic change that occurs. Like the family in this drama, they suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar territory with an elderly loved one whilst trying to juggle, their careers and families
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