Receiving care

In what ways can people receiving care be affected by moving between care environments? What can carers do to support people during this process of change? People receiving care can be affected by moving between care environments in many ways, good or bad. The type of person and how they cope, their attitude towards the move, also ill health and disability can affect whether the transition will be successful or not. The type of move also has an effect for example a move from home to a day centre or day hospital can be unnerving while a long-term move to a residential home can produce major life changes.

The type of setting also has an impact as the move can involve living or spending time with large groups of people and there might not be as much privacy as the person would have liked. However in this process of change carers can help to make the transition between care environments easier by preparing and organising the person ready for the move, liaising with other health care professionals to gather information including leaflets to pass on to the person, and giving the person plenty of notice as to when they will be moving and listening to any concerns they may have.

After the move, the carer should continue to support the person and give them time to adjust to their new environment. This will make the move easier for the person involved and the carer. As all individuals are different, the effects of moving between care environments can vary. How they cope with the transition between care environments depends on their ability to deal with new situations, and how they adjust to change can be affected by any attachments they have left behind from their previous lives.

How people are affected can also depend on their culture, religion, they’re children, elderly, frail or disabled and the types of environments being moved between such as day care centres/hospitals, childminders, children’s homes, foster carers, hospitals, residential homes and nursing homes. Some of these care settings are attended on a daily basis while others are a more long-term move. People who move between home and day care units or a childminders can be affected by anxiety and fear because they are unfamiliar with their surroundings although this is not always the case.

Some people feel that day care gives them somewhere to go and interact with other people and for some; it is their only form of freedom. The move between home and day care is the most common type of move as it involves people of all ages, which is true of Maureen the childminder who looks after children on a daily basis until the children’s parents have finished work (Unit 7, pp. 92-3). This is also true of Mr & Mrs Bright. Mr Bright has Alzheimer’s disease and lives at home with his wife, because of his illness he attends a day care unit for people with dementia and has occasional respite care at a local residential home.

His illness gives him short-term memory loss so day care and respite care can be an unfamiliar place for him every time he attends. Brenda from the day care unit says ‘We welcome Alan as he arrives off the bus… He’s quite disorientated… [and] we… calm him down because he’s quite anxious… He gets lost and confused and his mind blocks… [so] he requires a lot of reassurance and orientation’ (Brenda Masters, 2007, quoted in Unit 7, p. 95). As you can see the move between home and day care has a big impact on Mr Bright, he has lost control over the situation he is in and this is very distressing for him.

Moves between home and residential care for children and adults are more long-term and can have a big effect on the person’s well-being. These types of moves can lead to further transitions into nursing homes and foster carers. Long-term moves also involve hospital care for long periods, as in the case of Esther Hurdle. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and became confined to a wheelchair. She was no longer able to live with her family, as her flat was not suitable for a wheelchair, so she had to spend nearly three years in hospital whilst waiting for alternative accommodation.

The move to hospital was distressing as she was still coming to terms with her disability and she felt like she had lost control over her life. She could only see her family once a week, felt powerless and helpless, and she had little privacy, as the carers did not let her do a lot for herself. This move had a huge impact on the life of Esther and her family. However, she was finally given a flat adapted for her wheelchair and has regained some control over her life because of this (Audio 2, section 1).

Therefore, there are some positive effects when moving between care environments. Liberty of Early House is a good example of a positive move between care environments. They allow people to keep their identity and personal possessions as well as allowing them to keep as much control as they can over their lives. ‘From what the residents say, the staff have developed ways of working that allow residents to be themselves, or at least to make decisions about as many aspects of their lives as possible’ (Peace,S, 2005, quoted in Unit 8, p. 119).

Through this process of change carers can help people by providing support throughout the whole move starting with planning and organisation. This will help the person to understand when the move will take place, how it will be done and what they will need to do in terms of packing everything and getting ready. Carers can also liaise with other health professionals to gather more information about the move, including written information to pass on to the person. The carer could also arrange a visit before the move to let the person see the place where they will be moving.

The person should be given time alone to say their goodbyes to family and friends and on the day of the move the carer should be there to provide support and advice. When the moving process is complete, the carer should still provide support for a while after to make sure the person copes and adjusts to their new surroundings. It appears that moving between care environments can have positive and negative effects on a person. The moving process can prove difficult for some people as it can be a time of confusion, disorientation, and the loss of homes, personal possessions, family and friends.

This can cause feelings of bereavement in some people as well as anxiety and fear, yet for some people like Mr and Mrs Smith, they chose to move from home into residential care. This was because Mrs Smith’s husband was becoming increasingly frail and she was unable to cope alone, and they new people that lived there which made them happier to make the move into care (Unit 7, p. 99). Some people find that home is a place of negative experience and do not mind having to leave it behind.

However, people moving between care environments seem to suffer similar effects during this process of change, but it is a matter of how the person copes and also other factors such as age, gender, beliefs, religions and disability that decide how a person will be affected. With more support from carers, the effects can be minimized, through planning, organization, and the provision of written material. Support before, during and after the move are essential in maintaining the persons well-being as is giving them time to adjust to their new surroundings. This will make the move more pleasant for everyone concerned.

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