Penningtons Manches acts for children and adults who have significant disabilities as a result of injuries sustained at birth or as a result of disease and trauma. Very often these people will need care and assistance for life. Any care regime put in place must be acceptable to both the client and their family unit if their family still live with them and remain significantly involved.
Someone with extremely severe disabilities, particularly those affecting their mobility, is likely to need assistance throughout the day and night. More than one carer may be needed at a time because of the extent of the client’s disabilities, their size or concurrent medical problems. If care is needed around the clock, this could mean that several carers are in the client’s home on any given day. As this can be quite intrusive for the family, the housing situation should factor in separate space for the carers and the family within the home.
Where parents, for example, have been providing a significant amount of care for their disabled child, it is important to ensure that any new care regime that involves professional carers is introduced sensitively and gradually to ensure that everyone involved feels comfortable.
If a person’s disabilities are milder, such hands-on care may not be necessary but they may require some support to live as independently as possible. Such support could be provided by a ‘buddy’ carer or support worker who can accompany the individual on outings and assist with certain self-care tasks when out and in the home. Again, in a family setting, it is vital that the buddy carer is acceptable to the family, as well as the individual, to avoid personality clashes and tensions.
A case manager can assist with recruiting the carers and managing the care regime. With careful planning, recruitment and suitable contracts being put in place, a care regime should run smoothly but, if problems do arise that cannot be resolved via discussion and negotiation, the advice of an employment specialist may be required.
Alison Appelboam Meadows, a partner in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, comments: “Many of our clients have care needs and not only is it vitally important to properly assess these needs at an early stage but also to explore how best to introduce any care regime so that it is acceptable to both the client and their family.”