Social services want to speak to my mother on her own

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
My elderly mother lives with me. She has Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia and is bed bound after an unnecessary prolonged stay in hospital. Her care from social services 4 double handed calls seven days a weekapparently costs £51000 a year. Plus she has additional private care hich I pay for. My mother makes a contribution to the care social services provide.

I am shortly going on holiday and have had to pay a lot for overnight care at home. Social services are coming to see her in a few days time - two people I know and have requested they see her on her own without me present I have lasting power of attorney but no one is interested in the that. I have asked what It is a they want to see her about and I also want to tell them that I only want one visiting not twoas it seems top heavy. One old lady and two people from social services! Please can you advise how to handle this - I find it upsetting.
Hi Janet
First of all you don't have to let them in. They aren't the police with a warrant. They have no right of access. Secondly if you have POA for health, then you have every right to be there and can insist.
If they won't explain what it's all about and you are worried, then refuse the meeting. OR if you think that Mum is going to claim that she can do things she cannot and that they are considering cutting down the care or something you could sit in the background and make notes to update them afterwards perhaps.
e.g. When you asked Mum if she could make a cup of tea she said 'yes' but she cannot.
It sounds like they want to assess Mum on her own responses, not you speaking for her, but I don't know why. It could be something on their list of 'things they have to do to comply with the rules'. 'Person centred care' where the patient is always right, even when they're wrong.
POA for health carries a lot of clout. Use it. That's why you got it done. It's a legal document and they cannot ignore your wishes if Mum hasn't got the capacity to decide for herself. They HAVE to inform you of what's going on.
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If mum needs that level of care, then surely she qualifies for free care from the NHS? Google NHS Conyinuing Healthcare and ask your GP to arrange for abbn assessment asap.
Because of the dementia, would it be fair to say your mother does not have legal capacity any more? (would her GP say that, would a solicitor?)(For example, my MIL with vascular dementia has never been formally assessed, but when we went to my solicitor to redraft her will under English law, not Scots - since she was moving south of the border - after a few minutes conversation with my MIL, my solicitor took me aside and told me MIL was incapable of drawing up a will any longer, ie, she was no longer 'compos mentes' or whatever the phrase is!)(She couldn't tell my solicitor her middle name, nor the names of her sons who were going to inherit, etc etc))

If that is similar with your mum, then it's out of the question for anyone 'official' to talk to her or 'interview' her without a responsible adult with her, just as it would be if the person were a child. Nothing your mum could tel them could be 'legally valid'!

I'm afraid it does rather 'smell' of SS seeking to get your mum to say she doesn't need so much help, and therefore they can cut back on what they provide and save themselves a bob or two. (Or more - I must say, that figure of £50k plus is terrifying!) (Would it cost that much in a care home by the way? My MIL's care home cost £700 a week, which is about £35k annually, though that doesn't allow for any nursing care - see below).

In terms of nursing care, my MIL now gets some of her (new increased) fees paid by the NHS under Continuing Health Care - it's something like £120 a month, as her dementia has worsened to the point where she needs a degree of nursing care, not just residential care.

So I agree with Bowling Bun that surely, given your mother's condition now, nursing care is necessary, and that 'should' mean NHS CHC funding - ie, rather than SS. Maybe that is what this 'interview' is all about - to see if SS can shift some of the costs to the NHS?

Wishing you all the best with it, at a worrying time. I do hope you manage to get a 'care-free' holiday which I'm sure you must richly, richly deserve by now!!!
Hi Janet,

My reaction would be the same as yours - no, not under any circumstances. You, as her Power of Attorney, have her best interests at heart and her dementia means that communication without you present will not be possible. They have no rights to insist. SS tried this with me too and I always refused. We compromised that I would be in the room but would not interfere unless absolutely necessary. If your mum is anything like mine was, she will tell them she is perfectly capable and does not need any support :roll:

Enjoy your holiday, Anne
Thank you all so much - you are making me feel better. My mother has been assessed several times for NHS funded care but has not passed the criteria. With Lewy Body Dementia she is occasionally bright and with it and other times out of it. SS are very crafty. I have replied saying that I would like to know what they want to speak to her about and being questioned by two people is top heavy and I haven't received a reply from them today but I am frightened they will turn up when I am on holiday. I have warned my mum and other people caring for her but who knows what she is up to. Her care is expensive but that is because SS said they couldn't find eight carers a day from any of the agencies they had on their books (it is 4 double handed calls) but considering she could walk before she went in hospital and had no physiotherapy or anything and the hospital and SS were arguing all the time apparently over who was funding this, it is no wonder they have got landed with an expensive agency - my mum pays a good proportion for her care anyway. I will get cracking with my packing now!
Janet if you are really concerned that they will 'go behind your back' whilst you are on holiday - is there not someone you could trust to be there 'just visiting' as it were to keep an eye on proceedings and report back to you when you return ? It's highly unlikely that your Mum will remember what you've warned her of or remember what questions were asked or what was said at the time.

As we know all too well it is very easy for someone with dementia to present as being 'with it' if asked the right (wrong!) questions ! My Mum had Alzheimers yet when asked by the Consultant how she managed she insisted that she did all her own shopping, cooking, housework and decorating - in reality she couldn't even make a cup or tea without blowing up the kettle (she would keep putting an electric cordless kettle on the gas hob and melting it !) :shock: As for 'decorating' well she'd given up doing that years before when she had both knees replaced (and she couldn't even remember having had them done :( )
You mentioned overnight carers for which YOU are paying, to enable you to be away on holiday. Are these carers there during the day (ie, is it one single carer who will be there for the duration?).

Are you getting them from an agency?

Even if there is more than one, and YOU are paying for them, then simply write to the head of the agency and instruct them unambiguously that you do NOT give permission for ANYONE to enter the house at all, during your absence. Copy the letter to your solicitor, and inform the agency you will take action against them if ANYONE enters your house while they have the keys!

It is unthinkable that anyone can gain access to your property without your specific permission.

I do think it would help your cause if you had a clear declaration by your mother's GP/consultant that her dementia is such that she NO LONGER has legal capacity. That, at a stroke, makes ANYTHING she says to a social worker completely invalid. Personally, I would write to the SS (head of department), and point this out.

I suspect though, that what may be behind this sudden urge they have to talk to your mum alone (and thereby get her to say she doesn't need so much care!), is not so much to get YOU to pay more, but to get the NHS to pay more.....I suspect, from what you say about what happened in hospital, that there is a 'liability issue' here, with a lot of buck passing going on!

Have you considered getting in touch with a medical malpractice solicitor, to see if there is any legal culpability for your hospital to answer? ( This is horrible, I know, but in the end, if there is a real danger that your mum's careworkers may be reduced by SS, and the gap not picked up by the NHS, that you may have to get to that sorry pass!)
I know several months have now elapsed. HOw did it resolve itself
A similar thing. but on a hospital visit happened when my Aunt had to go for an X ray to the hospital.

Aunt had Dementia and was living in a home. I met her in X ray dept reception area.

The receptionist did not realise how to cope with someone with dementia and told me I could go to the nearby café and have a cup of tea.

I should not have left my auntie, I realise now. From memory, when I got back to Xray, they had sent my Aunt to A and E. It was all down to bad communications between the Nursing home, and hospital
bad practice and the receptionist probably being young and inexperienced.
Sorry for going off on a tangent. but it illustrates what can go wrong if the carer is excluded for even 15 minutes.