Do your relative’s assessment notes contain these phrases…
One of the biggest gripes families have about NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments and outcomes is that assessors are often looking at very poor quality daily care notes – notes that often do not take account of the key issues that needs to be assessed in a Continuing Healthcare assessment.
It’s a ludicrous situation, and it plays straight into the hands of those assessors who apply misplaced budgetary filters to decisions about a person’s eligibility for funding. Such a decision is supposed to be purely about health needs and specifically not about budgets.
However many families also feel that assessors deliberately play down health needs in Continuing Healthcare assessments.
It’s common for assessors to be highly selective about which statements from daily care notes they actually take account of – and many families feel that assessors paint an unduly rosy picture of a relative being assessed in order to declare them ineligible for funding.
Here’s an example…
In a full assessment, a person with severe dementia or serious mobility problems, for example, may be described in the assessment notes as “needing assistance with” things like continence, eating, etc – because they cannot do anything for themselves.
However, using the words “needing assistance” implies that the person is able to manage, and just needs a bit of help here and there – when in fact the truth of the matter could be that the person is entirely dependent, wholly vulnerable and needs full care intervention!
So if you’ve been sent a copy of your relative’s assessment notes and you see the words “needs assistance with” in them, challenge this (if it’s relevant to your relative). Make the point that your relative is completely dependent and does not simply need ‘assistance with’. On the contrary, they need ‘full intervention’, ‘full management of their care needs at all times’, they are ‘100% dependent’ and ‘extremely vulnerable’ – whatever is appropriate.
Another example that you may see in the assessment notes about your relative is that “staff need to monitor him/her” or “observe”. In the case of someone who is at serious risk of dehydration because they cannot drink anything by themselves, such wording in the assessment notes implies the opposite – and that staff just need to keep an eye on the person now and again. It implies there isn’t really a health need here.
So if you see instances of these words in your relative’s assessment notes, challenge the assessors about it and insist that the wording properly reflects the real situation.
You may also need to take up the issue of poor daily care notes with the care home – so that they represent a true picture of the day-to-day health and care needs and risks for your relative.
Do you have other examples of language being used to play down care needs?