September 4, 2012 by dontbringlulubook
During Lulu’s life in and out of schools and institutions, the Onion’s family were frequently in contact with various care trusts and organisations.
One such contact was with West Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Trust.
They arrange such things as inpatient, outpatient and community care for people living with mental health needs.
Nowadays, money has been pumped into this side of health care. During Lulu’s experience, things moved slowly.
Meetings would take place to discuss Lulu’s requirements. Then there would be the search to find suitable accommodation.
However suitable institutions were few and far in between. Even when one was located, there was no guarantee of a place. They were in demand with often long waiting lists. Lulu would be housed in ‘temporary accommodation’ – temporary often lasting the best part of a year.
Homes, when they were found, like any building, required maintenance and upkeep. This in itself meant more movement and change of location.
For many mental health conditions, a routine is helpful and comforting. Familiarity is key. Constant changes would be unsettling and unnerving.
Then, when you thought things had settled down, money would play a part. Care is never cheap. Residential care less so. Then when you add the specific needs of Lulu, care costs would escalate.
To provide care, a lot of organisations need to work together. That was often the problem. When costs needed to be shared between the Trust and local councils, discussions would often arise: should the ‘patient’, who has been in a particular home for some time, be moved to cheaper accommodation?
But these are the negatives. The positives play their part: Lulu’s time in institutions allowed her to settle and concentrate on the basics of education and life skills. When ‘care in the community’ started to be recognised, Lulu’s life changed for the better. She flourished. Homes with a small number of residents; key workers who really knew the people they cared for. Trips out, educational courses, social nights, eating as a ‘family’ around the dinner table.
Care Trusts always face criticism. After all, it is easier to select the negatives because positives can always be improved upon.
Yet without a Trust in place, organisations would find it difficult to function. The Trust is the centre point. Co-ordinators. The people you go to for help, and the people who deliver.