If it’s Adult Social Services, why on earth not treat me like one?

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There have been some worrying stories in the news today about the effects of cuts to Social Services budgets. I can only assume that said cuts also apply to the IQ of the staff. I am generally the first to stick up for social workers,  mainly because I used to be one albeit in youth offending, but today I encountered the epitome of reading from a script and not bloody listening.

I’d made a self referral to Adult Social Services for some practical assistance around the house. My hopes were that they could advise on ramps in the house and possibly loan me a bath lift as currently Mr Geek lifts me in and out.

They phoned yesterday whilst I was at work and I called back in an unusually uninterrupted lunchbreak. I spoke to a pleasant lady who had been passed my case & she started the telephone interview. About 5 minutes in, I began to wonder if she had seen my referral at all as all of the questions essentially repeated the laborious form I’d already completed.

As I tried to move the questioning on a bit faster, it appeared that she had become fixated on whether I could use a toilet. I said yes.
But do you need bars?
No, I have crutches.
But is it high enough?
Yes, and I support myself on the bath & crutches.
But you need help.
Oh ffs.

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I informed her that my major problem is actually getting in and out of the bath.
Is it a normal bath?
It’s got quirks. Don’t be so judgemental!  Oh. Yes. No, it’s not an adapted one.
But how do you use it now?
Well, Mr Geek lifts me in and lifts me back out again.

…and then I lost her.

No! Nooooooooo! Your husband must not lift you! No lifting! He will not lift you.
Sorry, what?
It is important that he dies not lift you.
I got that impression, but why?

And here I must quote word for word as I nearly dropped the phone:

I know you may want to be clean for work, but you must make do with washing at the sink.” ….. “You could get someone to spray your hair with water and add a little shampoo or use dry shampoo. If you stop washing your hair, in fact it will get used to it and won’t require it”.

Let’s tackle this in stages shall we?

I want to wash because I retain some dignity not just for work, but you know, daily. Hygiene is rather important.

I ‘must not’? Must not??!
Well, it’s a good job you can’t read my facial expression right now, because one eyebrow is significantly higher.

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And as for not washing my hair, I tried that a few years back as a hippy project and I can tell you now, whilst I only shampoo once per week right now of you stop entirely your my hair most certainly does not get used to it.

A home visit assessment was offered and aside from telling me to sleep downstairs,  stop adequately washing and don’t be lifted, there was no sensible or practical advice given. This is not what I’d hoped for, and frankly I was quite cross (read fuming) that I was expected to set my self respect aside because I dared to have a physical disability.

And so ends the tale of why I daren’t let my fingernails slide off the edge of holding onto employment. Why I can’t allow myself to be looked after by these people. I am not subhuman, despite what a government department may think.

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10 thoughts on “If it’s Adult Social Services, why on earth not treat me like one?

  1. (((hugs))) sweetie. I had a similar experience with OT when I did my self referral. She talked to me literally as if I were a five year old. I have a serious hatred of people that treat me like a cretin just because I’m in a wheelchair. I snapped and snarled at her. “Now listen to me you patronising twat. My legs don’t work but there’s fuck all wrong with my brain. I insist you visit me at home for a face to face discussion instead of you treating me like a fuckwit on the phone.” Oddly enough, another OT came to the house, and guess what? She was as nice as pie. Don’t let the buggers get you down. Or as they say in Latin… Non illigitamus carborundum. 😉

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  2. I had to read that phone convo two times to be sure I read it right. By the second time my thought was “WTF”. That’s not a solution at all. I may have asked her if she wants to cuddle with me after I haven’t properly bathed in two months and then see what her position is on the bath issue.

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  3. Hi,
    I have to say I am not surprised. My sister is having an awful time with adult social services who keep threatening to take her kids into care because she can not look after them. The reason she can’t look after them is that social services have cut her care package to a bare minimum. They refuse to allow, yes allow her to carry her baby son whilst in a wheelchair or whilst on the stair lift. So whilst her husband works because they don’t want to be classed as scroungers (no person is a scrounger by the way) she is supposed to stay upstairs or downstairs all day with her baby. Downstairs is no good as they have no downstairs toilet. So she has to stay upstairs if her husband is on earlies if she has no carer in the morning to carry her son downstairs.Because she is not allowed to.
    She can’t take her oldest boy to school because she can’t leave the baby at home. Her son is probably on the autistic spectrum and has a habit of running off so his hand must be held all the way to school. She can’t take the baby with her as she can’t carry him or use a pushchair whilst in her wheelchair Its kafkaesque…..See the issues here that social services are putting in her way? If her oldest boy doesn’t go to school social services are threatening to take him into care…..Helpful isn’t it? They won’t provide care to help him to go to school, child social services are just as useless and school transport won’t help either.
    Her MP is involved and she is trying to get an advocate but they are now telling her to get legal advice but with what magic beans? Her husband works as a carer and is on minimum wage.
    This is what it has come to, try and work and you get punished, don’t work and get punished, become disabled and get treated like a number and not a person. It’s heartbreaking.
    Sorry for the rant but I wanted you to know that you aren’t alone in the battle with social services.
    Rach x

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  4. sadly that’s not as shocking to me as it should be. it is utterly ridiculous. I can’t get in and out my bath (no partner to help and my carers are paid so we can’t go breaking health and safety and such). When I asked my social worker how I was supposed to wash myself and my hair I was told that I should book myself a regular appointment at the hairdressers to wash my hair and I should get the carers to sponge wash me. We have to do the latter because there is no alternative. Thankfully very patient carers have developed a way of washing my hair which doesn’t involve being in the bath or leaning over a sink (first is impossible, second is agonising). We managed each of these less than once a week… It is utterly demoralising, as you mentioned, going to work unwashed with grimy hair is totally unproffesional and exacerbates the idea that the disability means you aren’t able to work. Plus the added pain etc of having unsuitable options… Argh!

    I wish I had some useful advise but all I can say is that lush dry shampoo is ace as are really wide hairbands/headscarves… #sigh

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