LB gets direct payments to cover the cost of four hours care a week. Direct payments were introduced to enable “service users” [people] to buy their own care support and services. It’s all about giving service users choice and control in creating a “care package” [support] that is tailored to their needs. So far so good…
The local “care provider” [company] that is somehow hooked into the local authority contacted me to say that LB was down on their list for a residential holiday. When his case had gone to “panel” [no idea] a few months ago, his care package was increased to 4 hours a week plus a residential holiday. Oh. Ok. What kind of holiday? Five days at an activity centre in Swindon. I wrote the cheque.
Choice? Now that’s a funny one. Choice really means a choice of two or more things. If you’ve only got the choice of one thing and nothing, it ain’t really a choice. It’s a yes or no thank you. I’d already googled and failed to find any available holiday for LB, so, residential holiday in Swindon or no residential holiday? Yes please. But lets not pretend there’s a choice involved here.
The holiday starts today. The company have been in touch a few times about arrangements, LB turned down the meet and greet opportunity and he’s being picked up this afternoon. Between 1.30-3.30pm according to the paperwork. Then a call late yesterday afternoon;
“Hi Sara, just to let you know, I should be with you around 5pm tomorrow to pick up LB…”
5pm? Eh? Why so late? What if we’d made plans? Why cut corners?
“Oh, great! Thanks!!! LB is really looking forward to it. See you then. Bye!!!”
Control? Not really. Not when you are handing over your dude to their care for four nights and five days. And what about LB? Does he have any choice in all of this? Not really. He’s been muttering but ain’t called in his legal team yet. I suspect he’s just hoping for a few Stobarts on the M4.
I hope he has a good time & it is a positive experience for all of you, but it really is rubbish not having the choice. Direct payments & personal budgets are great in theory, but will only effectively deliver choice & control if they are set at a rate that will mean providers think it is financially worth providing a service and if those services are of high enough quality that people want to purchase them.
Pingback: Beyond shunned, trust and what? | mydaftlife