The clients name and some details in this case study have been changed to protect their identity and privacy.
Martin was an elderly Irish gentleman living in a council property. He had become threatening to his elderly next door neighbour, as a result, the police, housing and social services became involved.
Martin was difficult to engage with due to this threatening behaviour, he also had issues with alcohol and memory problems. It was clear that there was no straightforward way to deal with his situation.
I wrote to Martin notifying him of a home visit, but this failed. I eventually managed to gain access to the property with a colleague, where we found things were very chaotic and it was evident that he was something of a hoarder.
Martin found it difficult to tell me how he was coping. He was unable to tell me anything about his family or support network, and he had little information regarding bills or any documents that might give me an insight into how he was managing financially. He would often carry large sums of money out in public, and he had constant issues losing his electricity key; so there was often no light or heat in the property.
He also had a much loved dog, which had a large tumour. Often on visits I would find he was out walking the dog and had put unsuitable locks and padlocks on the front door, so I would have to return several times at different times of the day.
I eventually managed to engage with Martin, and worked with his surgery to get him to appointments. This was hit and miss as he wouldn’t remember if I was coming, but thankfully the surgery was flexible. Martin was diagnosed with dementia.
I managed to talk Martin into letting the RSPCA take the dog for investigation. The dog was found to have an operable tumour, which needed to be treated. This was very upsetting for Martin as he and the dog went everywhere together, and I knew it was likely that he would forget where the dog had gone.
I went with a colleague to collect Martin’s dog after the operation. I have a real fear of dogs so it was necessary to have some support! I had kept Martin up to date on his dog’s progress, but when we came to return the dog, Martin was nowhere to be seen. We eventually found him in one of the pubs he frequents, where he told me his dog had been stolen. When I took his dog out of my car there was a truly happy reunion!
I came across an old store calendar from a place near to where Martin said he had come from, and managed to place an enquiry through the store resulting in finding his brother, sister and niece. They were all glad to hear about him, and I managed to get his brother to speak to him on the phone which was good for both of them.
I arranged for Martin’s property to be cleared, so that a care package could be put in place for him. He was eating properly, medication was regular and personal care was maintained. A keysafe was fitted to ensure everyone had the best chance of gaining access, and I made an arrangement to leave an agreed sum in the keysafe for weekly shopping. We managed Martin’s cash from a safe in the office; I would give him enough to last a few days at a time and he would come to the office when he needed more.
Eventually it became clear that the care package wasn’t working. The team would arrive when Martin wasn’t in, and despite my instructions, one of the carers had given him the electricity key and he had lost it. This had happened a week previous but I was not informed, and to make matters worse this was during winter time.
I was in the process of getting Martin into a residential home where he could have a flat of his own, but it was not due to happen for a week or so, however after discussing (pleading) with the manager, she agreed that Martin could move in right away. The home took over managing his finances and care, and he settled in well.
6 months later the home was being closed down for refurbishment. All residents had to move out, and while Martin’s social worker did her best to find somewhere suitable for him, he was eventually rushed into a home outside of the area he knew. Everything was alien to him, there was no time for a proper assessment and the new staff were not prepared for the behaviour he would exhibit. Martin’s behaviour deteriorated and he attempted to escape multiple times. It was clear this wasn’t the right place for him and his behaviour was frightening other elderly residents.
Martin eventually went missing overnight, and it was decided he should be sectioned under the mental health act, which was very upsetting. He was taken to hospital, and sadly separated from his dog. I found a kind surgery who agreed to check over his dog for free. They found that the dog was in surprisingly good health. The care home had initially agreed to look after the dog while I found him a permanent home, but the people there had become so fond of him that they decided to keep him!
Martin’s sister in law came to visit him from Ireland, to get a clear insight into how he is. His brother had initially wanted Martin to return home, but it was clear that they would struggle to cope, as his physical care needs are such that he would need specialist care that isn’t available close to where they live.
Martin remained in hospital for about 6 months, and although he couldn’t remember who I was when I went to visit, it was clear that he was happy to see me. He eventually moved to another residential home, where he remains now. Martin is much more settled now.