With 33 years’ experience in health and social care Suzan Collins believed she could ensure good care for her mother, and her family relied on her to do so. She was actually delivering training on best practice when she was first contacted with the news her mother had broken her leg at her nursing home and been transferred to hospital.
This is the story of what followed- the gradual revelation of a whole ongoing chain of bad practice and poor care that Suzan, with all her knowledge and experience of ‘the system’, could not influence.
In this highly topical book, Suzan shares her story from her personal and professional perspectives and looks ahead to how we can all contribute to keeping vulnerable people in health and social care system safe from harm.
‘I was sitting in the dining room of a care service, waiting for my NVQ candidate to finish what she was doing. Whilst waiting, I took in what was happening in this room. There was quiet talk between various people at different tables. It was happy talk. One mother was telling her daughter how happy she was living there. Another lady, with dementia, was being supported by a staff member. Another was being quietly helped into her wheelchair and leaving the room. Staff spoke at a level that the individual could hear. I was good at picking up on body language and at that moment I could say that the individuals, staff and the relatives – everyone in that room at that particular time – were happy to be at the home and happy with the home.
Three days later I was back at this home to see a different candidate. He told me how he had supported a lady that morning with end-of-life care. Those words hit me hard and it took me back to the poor end-of-life care my mother had received when she was dying.
The candidate told me he ‘felt privileged’ to give personal care to a lady who was confined to bed and leaving this world. Why, oh why, could Mum not have had someone like him to help her when she was dying in hospital? I swallowed hard and told him how lovely that was. He took it in his stride; he didn’t realise how good he was at his job and how much the people he supported valued him.’
Beyond My Control tells the story of my mother’s ordeal and the efforts I and my family made to put things right. It is also intended to show what good practices are, and what to do when things go wrong. Suzan has provided practical advice at the end of many of the chapters and in an appendix at the end of the book to show what you, the reader, can do to stop something this bad happening to you.
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