Rosemary*, a Homecare client, received a morning, lunch, tea and back to bed call from Homecare, 7 days a week. Mary, her Care Assistant, attended all four calls, Monday to Friday and every other weekend.
Rosemary suffers from dementia and at times was quite frail, but she had a great sense of humour.
Rosemary always wanted to stay in bed with her hot water bottle. Whenever Mary came to complete her call, Rosemary would tell her that she was fine, she didn’t need her pad changed, she was very comfortable in bed and didn’t want to get up to go to the toilet or the commode. “Sure, sort me out the next time you come. You run on and don’t be worrying about me.” But Mary knew that it was 4 hours since she was there last and it would be another 4 hours before she returned, so it was most likely that the pad would be wet or soiled.
With a little bit of banter and coaching, Mary was able to get Rosemary to the edge of the bed, steadied her onto her feet and walked with her to the bathroom. On the days when she had poor mobility, Mary was able to get Rosemary to the commode. During toileting, Mary changed the bed and put on clean sheets and puffed up the pillows, just the way Rosemary liked them.
On the good days, Rosemary was able to sit in the chair in the living room to eat or at the kitchen table, but on other days, Rosemary went back to bed and Mary was able to feed her propped up in bed.
One day Mary called as usual to complete her call, but she knew that Rosemary was not herself. Mary called the office and asked if they would ring Rosemary’s daughter Jane. Jane arrived 10 minutes later and rang for the doctor. Mary stayed with Jane to make Rosemary as comfortable as possible until the doctor arrived.
Rosemary was admitted to hospital and Jane rang the office to ask for calls to be cancelled for the rest of day. She rang the office early the next morning to say that her mother was in intensive care and to cancel all calls until further notice. Jane went on to say that Mary was an excellent carer, always on time and treated her mother with respect and dignity and the both of them seemed to have a special bond. The message was passed onto Mary, who was extremely pleased but a little sad to hear that Rosemary was still in hospital.
*These are real stories, names have been changed.