Pardon the pun I couldn’t resist!
A referral to the ‘Memory Clinic’ that was what my dad’s GP recommended after he assessed my dad with a questionnaire, following a discussion about his memory lapses over the last few months.
Unfortunately this referral has taken so long that even I was beginning to think I had imagined it!
After numerous conversations with the GP surgery who suggested I contact the service directly, I found myself being passed from one person to another without getting anywhere. I was eventually directed back to my GP only to be told the referral had not been sent through to the memory clinic, but they would make sure it was sent ASAP.
This whole journey had taken 4 months from the original conversation my dad and I had had with the GP in September to the eventual home assessment appointment which took place in December.
With every step of my dad’s patient journey, we have come across issues with referrals and follow up from one service to another, and this leaves me wondering how some elderly patients cope when they have nobody to follow these things up for them, as my dad has with me!
It is so frustrating knowing these valuable services are out there, but it takes just one step to be out of place to send the whole process out of sync and cause delays for patients.
Having the referral acknowledged and the home assessment finally arranged, I was happy to see dad was now on the pathway. We were informed that dad would have another assessment, and would be assigned a practitioner and a consultant. We were also informed that dad would require blood tests and a CT Scan.
A few days later I received a phone call confirming dad’s next home visit, but to my dismay nobody arrived for the home visit, and after waiting over half an hour I decided to call the memory clinic to find out if dad was on the list for the assessment.
To my surprise, I was told they had no record of this appointment and could not find any information as to who was supposed to be visiting my dad, I gave the details of the call I had received confirming the appointment, but still I could not get any clarification on who was assigned the appointment.
After about half an hour I received a phone call from the practitioner, who was supposed to be visiting my dad, they informed me that although an appointment was booked for my dad, it had not been assigned to the practitioners diary (somebody had forgotten to inform them) I did find this quite funny really, considering it was the memory clinic, and here I was following up yet another appointment. The practitioner apologised and asked if she could still visit my dad within the hour, to which we agreed.
I have to say when she arrived she was very apologetic, and we did see the funny side of this, but again it leaves me wondering how some people with nobody to help them follow these things up cope with these misunderstandings.
I know that if my dad had been on his own waiting for this assessment, he would not have remembered who to contact when they didn’t turn up, and he would have just accepted this.
Needless to say, the assessment went well, we were informed of the next process in his pathway of care, and I am pleased to say everything else has fell into place with the follow up appointment for the CT Scan next week, and an appointment with the consultant next month.
However, we are still waiting for news on the Parkinson’s Therapy Group, this has still not been confirmed considering I was informed that the earlier my dad starts on this programme the better. Almost 5 months into his diagnosis and it’s me who is providing the therapy and assisting my dad with limited information on his condition, and how best to support him.
Hopefully my next post will be able to report that he has started on a programme of therapy!