Linda knows her mother Manuela’s care needs better than anyone. Manuela, now in her late 80s, developed dementia in her early 70s and Linda spent 13 years as her carer, while juggling life between her mother’s home in the Midlands, her own home and family in the South East of England, plus work and study commitments.
So when Linda began a long campaign to win NHS continuing healthcare funding to support her mother, she was very clear about what she was looking for as the end result: “I wanted my mother looked after the way I look after her.”
Now, with Almond Care providing a 24-hour care package, Linda is more than happy with the support Manuela is receiving, saying: “They have been brilliant.”
Manuela has a complex range of health needs, alongside the dementia that can result in unpredictable behaviour and hallucinations, which can leave her very distressed. While mobile, and fast-moving, she is at risk of falls and also has a heart condition, diabetes and suffers transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs), or mini strokes.
Linda found out about NHS continuing healthcare – designed to support people with “substantial and ongoing care needs” outside hospital – by chance, at a dementia conference she attended.
After her mother became very ill in June 2014 and had to spend time in hospital, Linda prepared a proposal for continuing healthcare funding that was finally approved, and Almond Care commissioned to provide Manuela’s care package, by the end of that year.
A further complication in Manuela’s care is that she requires bilingual carers. Originally a French speaker, she also speaks Spanish and although she has lived in the UK since the 1950s, she does not now always understand English.
While the recruitment process was challenging, Almond Care now has a regular team of six carers, all but one of whom speaks a second language, who provide Manuela’s support on a rota of days and waking night shifts.
Linda is very clear about what she wants from her mother’s care – that she enjoys the best possible quality of life, that she is kept safe, that her dignity is maintained and she is treated with respect.
Those priorities, and her close involvement in her mother’s care over the years, mean she has had no hesitation in asking for adjustments to Manuela’s care plan where she felt they were needed and has been quick to contact the Almond Care office over any issues or concerns.
Now she says: “I cannot say a bad word about Almond Care – they have been brilliant. There have been very few problems and any issues have been dealt with promptly. I feel the Almond Care is working actively with me and overall it has been an excellent experience.”