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Family Profile B

My father who lives alone suffered a significant stroke in September at home. The Emergency Service was called and my father was hospitalised for 3 months.

I work, and therefore hospital visiting became a major part of my daily plan. The care whilst in hospital was good for my father, however the feedback to us as a family was poor, no one was around to talk to and offer us support or information. Equally we did not know what to ask just thankful that he was recovering well.

January 4th arrived and my father told us he was going to be discharged within the week. The information he had was limited, and we therefore spoke to a staff nurse and asked what to expect, a Social Worker was mentioned and an Occupational Therapy assessment informed us we would need to prepare a downstairs room and that there would be 4 calls a day provided to my father’s home from the Enablement Team. This was seen an alien language to us – never having had to cope with illness or disability before.

Considering ourselves as a relaxed and able family for the first week of our fathers’ discharge we did not know which way to turn nor did he. We were dealing with specialist food preparation, medical condition which we had limited knowledge of, medication to administer in copious amounts and medical interventions and dressings which needed to be considered.

It really did bring the family together, but still we were floating in unchartered waters. A friend told us about the help they had received from Derbyshire Carers Association which we contacted with. From then on we felt that all of our needs were being considered and we were listened to throughout all this. The Support Worker at Derbyshire Carers Association was the first person to ask how I was, we felt supported. Derbyshire Carers Association staff coordinated the services that brought so much to make ours’, and our fathers’, life better. This included a Carers Assessment, an Emergency Plan, a Carers Break, budget, equipment, medications delivered in blister packs, rehab teams, Care Link. The service provided by Derbyshire Carers Association provided someone for us to talk to and share our concerns with.

Derbyshire Carers Association gave us reassurance that we were doing ok managing to care and gave us our lives back. When I returned to work the family started to see how we can all survive within this new caring role which has taken us by surprise.