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Guest Post: Accessing care agencies
The things that go through your head are very distraught, daunting thoughts that you need a carer, but how, where, what?
I found myself lost, being impatient at hospital, being discharged and I couldn't even go to the toilet without help, yet you’re expected to just “get on with it.” I felt there was no guidance and I wasn't coping, so for me I knew it was time to have a carer.
The first steps are realising you need help, there is no shame at all, it doesn’t make you less of a person, you’re getting help to get your life back, to some degree. Be open, for me, having fibromyalgia, it felt harder because people don’t understand it, you have widespread chronic pain but it’s not life threatening. At my young age, I had things going against me. Please don’t let this hinder you.
Now, how do you get help? This is where I was lost, because help wasn’t handed to me. I tried asking my GP, they couldn’t help, so looking around someone suggested calling my local council. You go through adult social services/occupational therapist/disabilities, from there they advise you. Be open and honest and from there, the care manager sets your appointment that you may have some wait for so be patient.
The meeting and assessment is there to help them figure out what help you need including finances (if you’re on benefits). You will be asked a lot of questions so they can fully understand your situation.
After my assessment, I was then passed onto direct payment, they are the one’s who sort out the finance side of things. This is where it gets technical, it’ll be decided by the assessment care management team at the council if you will pay for your own care or your local council.
Passed all the steps
Now the actual care. You may decide for your family to care for you full time, that’s fine. For me I wanted a carer. The next steps, I looked for a carer myself, put an ad out with the help of Direct Payment, due to the poor response and last minute time-wasters, I was very frustrated, I went with care agencies. I sought help and advice from Direct Payment who gave me sound advice for interviewing potential carers.
The advice was:
- Have a notebook with questions prepared.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions like”how long have you been running?”
- Do you feel comfortable - important as your care is in their hands, you need to be able to talk to them.
- Does it feel clinical? For me I want my carer to be able to hold a conversation with me, it’s about you and what you want.
Once you have a carer, if you feel uncomfortable or mistreated, tell the office and don’t suffer in silence. Also, make sure if you are able, that you are not being overcharged, if you’re unable please try and have someone check.
Please remember you do not need to suffer in silence, don’t let your invisible illness discourage you, I know it’s hard, trust me, I know. It’s been a fight for me. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Forums and support groups are great, always ask and look around, I truly hope this post helps someone.
Do you use care agencies? Is finding a carer a difficult experience? What tips would you give to ensure you receive the best care? Let us know your thoughts.