"Mixed experiences of dementia care"

About: Arran War Memorial Hospital / Old age psychiatry Dementia Support Service

(as a carer),

I had the most horrible introduction to this service when my mother got delirium on the ferry when returning from a cataract appointment in Kilmarnock and I couldn't get help.

The woman at social services put the phone down on me and refused to help. I was in floods of tears as my mother wandered around the ferry picking up other people's food and talking rubbish. A lovely lady in amongst the passengers put her arm round me and said 'you have to start with the gp, I used to work for social services and you'll get no help from them'.

I rang the surgery and they told me to take my mother straight to the hospital. She was admitted immediately and kept in hospital on Arran before being transferred to the mainland - in all she was in hospital for three weeks.

Since that time I have had some really good help from the Community Psychiatric Nurse, Carol, who has made genuine efforts to establish exactly what help my mother needs and provide it. She has kept in regular contact with me, I am in Yorkshire, and together we have improved my mother's life and helped to manage the vascular dementia she is suffering.

Without the help of Carol I would be really struggling. I am my mother's next of kin and I have power of attorney, but I also have to work to earn a living and all the help I can get from the support services on Arran are really important.

So some very, very bad and some very, very good. Can we please have less of some and more of the other?

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Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

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Dear Kipper,

I am so sorry you had such a difficult time and was not helped or supported. It must have been very distressing. I suspect you may not have understood what was happening but you did not know how to get help either. I am sure that Social Services will be interested in your experience and will respond in due course.

On behalf of the Community Psychiatric team and particularly Carol, may I thank you for your kind words which I will be delighted to pass on to the team. Thank you for taking the time to contact us and share your story.

I sincerely hope that your future experiences are more of the other (good) ones.

Kind regards,

Eunice

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Response from Annie Weir, Senior, North Ayrshire Council

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Dear Kipper

Thank you so much for getting in touch. I am so sorry to hear about your poor experience with some of our services. I have asked the senior manager of this service to investigate further and I will let you know as soon as her investigations are complete.

In the meantime, if you would like to email me with specific information, please don't hesitate to contact me at annieweir@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

Kind regards

Annie

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