CARING FOR DIANE              See- Latest News

                                                             Also- One year on
Diane & Betsy  Diane and Betsy

Diane, my dear wife, unfortunately suffered a severe stroke on 12th. September 2009 ( a date etched on my mind) and was admitted to High Wycombe Hospital where she spent an uncomfortable 6 weeks in the stroke unit. It is true to say that she was well looked after, but the ward is a distressing place to be with other patients suffering various degrees of stroke severity from mild to terminal.
We worked hard to prepare a room in our house to get Diane home with me and we achieved this by October 26th.
We have a special motorised bed, chair and hoist to transfer her between them.
We elected not to wait for a "Care Package" as this would have meant an extended stay in hospital for Diane before it could have been put in place.
Also, there had been virtually no progress in supplying anything after 6 weeks in hospital.

So far we are doing well, with some minor mishaps.
My family have been wonderful and my daughter Emma has taken 6 months leave from her important job with the Buckinghamshire PCT.
She comes in every day to help look after Diane.
My other daughter Sarah helps as well and my son Richard is on stand-by and does any work we need such as constructing a ramp to our front door.
Diane is amazingly cheerful and we have some good laughs together, and that is the good thing, we are together.

I posted regular updates here to report our progress and how we managed including the degree of support from the NHS services, which may be of general interest.

We have now, after one year, achieved our independence again by getting a wheelchair adapted car and all that entailed. We are going out two or three times a week to local places of interest, shops and restaurants.
I have now archived the updates for posterity!

The current big issue is the cuts in social services that are threatened by our new government in view of the economic situation the country faces.
We have never been affected by these until Diane suffered the stroke and we have had to have carers from the Buckinghamshire Social Services.
It seems we shall have to manage our caring provision ourselves in the future through the "self directed funding" provision. We should get Diane's care award paid directly into her bank and use it to buy our care. The problem is whether it will be enough. I will keep you posted!
Latest news: As we thought, the self directed funding would be some £80 to £100 a week short of what we would need to continue with our present carers. Actually, this shortfall is far more than we expected. If we paid the difference we would have nothing left to pay for the "extra" care Diane needs that the Social Services will not provide. So we have no choice but to accept the change to a new care agency "Sevacare". The change over will take place at the end of January 2011. I will record here how the new agency perform...............
Sevacare took over our homecare on the 14th March 2011 after two delays to the start date. They were clearly unprepared for the start as calls were missed or I had to phone them to find out if the carers were coming and we had no timetable giving the time and who would be attending. After one month it is improving and after speaking to Social Services we now have a timetable and the area manager is coming to review our care. I will report further progress here.
Three months on I am glad to say Sevacare have improved greatly and we have had equally good service from them as we had with Carewatch. they are usually on time and we have had any missed visits since the initial few weeks.


It is now almost one year since Diane had her stroke and time I think to reflect on what we have achieved since that fateful day.
We have come a long way and now that we are able to get out in our adapted vehicle we have achieved our primary goal.
To do this we went through the significant stages listed as follows;
1. To get Diane home from hospital we had to provide the same level of care as the hospital. That involved buying a bed and hiring a hoist in a room big enough to install them
(it would take an age to get them provided by social services). Also, we had to prove that we could look after her by completing training at the hospital.
This meant that my daughter Emma had to take leave of absence from her job with the Bucks PCT for 6 months without pay to help look after Diane.
2. It took us 6 weeks to get Diane home but we achieved that before the end of October 2009 by installing the the bed, chair and hoist in the large front room of the house and providing the ramps to the front door. My son Richard built them  and the ambulance service inspected and approved them and duly delivered Diane home at last!
3. The next several months were spent improving the situation at home. The major items were a ceiling track hoist which I could operate on my own instead of the portable 2-man one, the special wheelchair with a powerpack so I can guide it with little effort and the the ramps outside to get in and out with the wheelchair. To be able to use the ramps we had to have the front garden paved which would also allow for a wheelchair adapted vehicle (WAV) to get up to the house.
4. Finally, we have now taken delivery of the WAV and are getting out and about the local areas for shopping and lunches and to daughter Emma's house at Penn.
The Update History link below gives all the details;
UPDATE HISTORY-November 2009 to October 2010 Use this link to see the diary of events