How was intermediate care for my sister?

Featured article - 18 December 2017
By Toni Foers, carer

Head-shot of the author, Toni Foers, carer

The intermediate care quick guide is something I am very proud of. It is designed to give people understanding of the issue of intermediate care; we developed the guide in collaboration with professionals who deliver the service, and also with those of us who have benefited from experience of using an intermediate care service.

It’s all too easy for people to mistake intermediate care for merely ‘caring’ and this guide clearly sets out to explain the difference so that people know just what they can expect.

My experience of intermediate care started when my sister was hospitalised after a series of falls. She already had dementia but had been living with a degree of independence. But because she was in hospital for a few weeks and unable to do most things for herself she very quickly lost a lot of that independence and, most importantly, the desire to do things for herself. She seemed to become a passive recipient of care, which was very upsetting to see.

Peeling her own potato

We were referred to an intermediate care service when she was discharged and the first thing that happened was that the service organiser came to visit us to discuss what she wanted to achieve from the service. My sister said she wanted to be able to do simple everyday tasks like cleaning her teeth herself and washing her face, along with making her own cup of tea and peeling a potato for her lunch. She was allocated both a physiotherapist - who helped her regain some of her lost mobility -and an occupational therapist - who worked with her to encourage her to undertake simple tasks including those mentioned above.

The guide is designed to explain things to people who might benefit from an intermediate care service but also their family and friends, who might be completely unfamiliar with such a service (as we were) and what it is all about. It isn’t a few weeks of domiciliary care. I think it’s more helpful than that, as these services provide a person with real support and encouragement to achieve their personal goals for independence, which they set for themselves and which will be different for everyone. By being involved in the service people like my sister are able to retain or regain a level of independence which they might feel they have lost forever. At the same time, because there is strong collaboration between all parties, it gives families and carers the confidence to stand back more and let their loved one to do more things for themselves.

I hope that people in the same situation as my sister and my family will find the quick invaluable.

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