When I phoned at 14:35 on Monday 22 February 2010, Mrs CJ and Dr A were with the Old Man. Dr A said she had assessed the Old Man as “a fall risk” and was not happy at the thought of him going up the stairs. She would try to get him further assessed by a care team that same day. She would phone me back from the surgery within the hour.
Dr A phoned me at 1530. The Macmillan nurses are to call on the Old Man on Tuesday 23 February. Dr A gave me the phone number for Social Services, who may be able to organise meals on wheels, a downstairs commode, a trolley-caddy for carrying things between the living-room and the kitchen, and perhaps something to help with the stairs. Dr A made the point that the Old Man probably can only get weaker. She was surprised that he had been discharged from the hospice, but when I explained that the reason I had been given was that his cancer was stable, this made sense to her.
As advised by Dr A, I phoned the Old Man to obtain his agreement that some help via Social Services would be a good idea. Mrs CJ was with him, and she said that her mother had found a trolley-caddy invaluable — until she got one, she had not been able to take a cup of coffee from her kitchen into another room.
The Old Man agreed, with some reluctance, that I should contact Social Services and obtain information on what they could do for him. His fresh supply of bendroflumethiazide had been delivered, and I got him to take one tablet.
As Dr A warned me, it is not easy to make contact with the Social Services by phone. When they did call me back, in response to a voicemail I had left, the impression I got was that the system is fragmented. The Old Man will be referred to the occupational therapists to be assessed for a trolley-caddy. Meals on wheels are now provided not by Social Services but by other organisations — I left a voicemail with one of them.
At tea-time the Old Man did not answer the phone. I eventually made contact with him just before 18:00. He did not sound as coherent as he had done earlier that afternoon. I told him to go and get himself a couple of clementines and a banana.
[Original posting 6 March 2010]