In Sara’s words…
My aunty is a good example of someone who planned their old age. When she retired, she had her house converted so her friend lived upstairs and she lived downstairs, and they had a flat each. They lived quite happily for about 10 years and then moved to almshouses – she wanted something a bit smaller with a warden on site. Then, when she got frailer and she wanted the option of not having to cook, she moved to a lovely supported housing scheme in Scarborough where she had her own flat but could have meals with other people.
She has numerous health problems and recently was very poorly and had to go into hospital, but within a few days she was sitting up and looking much better. Almost immediately, the hospital wanted to get her out. The consultant at the hospital kept calling my cousin to say, ‘We want to discharge her. She should be going into a nursing home, what are you going to do?’
Finding a nursing home
We were hundreds of miles away. We couldn’t reach her on the phone to ask what she wanted. Then we found a nursing home that she had previously visited and liked that could support her. It was in Surrey, where my aunty comes from and nearer where her family live. But we had to see if they would take her and we had to sort out the funding.
The hospital wanted to get my aunty into any nursing home so she wasn’t blocking a bed, but the social worker told us to ‘Wait, because it’s much better for her if she just has one move.’
Charitable financial support
We then had a very stressful time because the fees down south were higher than what the council up north would pay. At one time it looked like the family would have to top up the fees and we were very worried about making that commitment. Finally, a charitable arm linked to where my aunty used to work came in and topped it up – and my aunty just has to make a small contribution. We had great support from the staff at the supported housing scheme and the social worker during this time.
Who will pay for the ambulance?
Once the finance was sorted, the next thing was ‘Who’s going to pay for the transport?
Once the finance was sorted, the next thing was, ‘Who’s going to pay for the transport?’ The hospital weren’t prepared for her to go in a taxi because she needed medical attention and this was for a six-hour ambulance journey. Again, the consultant got on the phone and asked the family to pay. We were all going to chip in – it was going to be about £1,000. Then, miraculously, the NHS picked up the bill.
But we still went through a ridiculous situation where the transport took ages to sort out and that became a two-week wait. It took longer to organise that than to do the finances!
But my aunty is in the home now and is really happy.”
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