Being a carer – the crucial times to pay attention!


I have been asked for advice recently by a number of different clients and there are some key points in the situation when it is really important to pay attention to the situation and what you are being told or asked.  Unfortunately, this is often also at a time when a family members are under enormous stress and trying to stay rational under extreme stress is extraordinarily hard.


The key times, apart from every day of course, is when there is a change and a transition from one situation to another.  When the person is unwell or getting better, when they are admitted into hospital or when they are coming out.  Importantly when something about their care changes and in particular the place where it is proposed that they are cared for changes.


The points of change are the times when a new decision needs to be made about something and what that decision is and how it will be made can make a huge difference to the situation.  I have anecdotally heard that when there is a disagreement with an attorney for health and welfare, the health professionals call a best interests meeting and decide what is going to happen, so the power of attorney is pointless.  What that person has not realised is that when the healthcare professionals call a best interests meeting, this is their recommendation, not a decision, the attorney still retains the authority to make the final decision.  In this situation as described about, this was clearly not made explicit to the attorney and since they felt disempowered, were not able to assert their decision making.  And this is the kind of situation where special attention needs to be paid to what is happening.


I have been asked to advise about the funding by the Local Authority to someone who has quite a high income and they have been told that the Local Authority will contribute up to their tariff rate per week, so this family are undertaking their calculations based on what they think that their loved one will receive.  What appears not to have been made expressly clear is that this weekly tariff sum does not include the income contribution made by the person themselves and the Local Authority only pay the difference between the income contribution and the tariff rate, not the entirety of the tariff rate, so the affordability calculations are going to be fundamentally flawed.


These transitional situations are the times when lots of questions should be asked, it is not a time to be defensive, as this is information gathering, not necessarily criticism, however professionals can be defensive, as they believe that this might be the starting point of a complaint, whether raised as a formal complaint or not.


If you or your loved one is facing a transitional time and feel under stress and do not know where to get independent advice, then please contact me and I will be happy to assist.