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An introduction to health and social care

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In this assignment I am going to look at the difficulties and rewards experienced by carers, especially those who care for a family member. I am going to look closely at the role of one such carer, a 37 year old woman called Ann who fell into the unexpected role of caring for her stepfather who has Parkinson’s disease. I would like to first define the word ‘carer’ a carer is someone who supports and cares for someone else because of age, illness or disability. The care is may be carried out by a family member, a friend or a neighbour. Difficulties

Ann experiences a wealth of difficulties caring for Angus, she encounters emotional, physical, mental, social and financial demands as she tries to fulfil her role as carer. Ann was thrown into the role of carer when her mother had asked her to take of Angus on her deathbed. It was a role expected of Ann, she was the woman in the house and it was a role she had not been trained for. Caring for Angus presented many difficulties, Ann had given up her job to care for Angus thinking it would lessen the pressure she was feeling at that time, on the contrary, Ann now was experiencing the financial impact of only having her husband Bobs wage to support the family, this puts considerable strain on Ann as she is now solely reliant on her husband financially and the family are at risk of poverty.

Bob and Angus have a strained relationship with both battling for Ann’s attention, Angus reminds Bob that he owns the house in which they all live in, this is demoralising for Bob. Ann states during interview that she feels like “piggy in the middle” torn between her obligation to Angus and to her own husband and child, Ann’s daughter Zoe has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia, she is experiencing difficulties at school, Zoe try’s to seek out support from her mother, Ann however is totally overwhelmed with caring for Angus and is unable to provide her daughter with the support she so badly needs. Zoe’s teacher contacts Ann expressing concerns that Zoe is behaving in a difficult and challenging way at school however Ann at this time is feeling overwhelmed being caught between Angus and bob and fails to engage with Zoe’s teacher productively which results in the school contacting social services with their concerns.

Ann is also feeling the physical strain of caring for Angus, she struggles to help Angus up the stairs and in one incident her and Angus almost fall down the stairs, Ann is suffering from sheer exhaustion, even at night time she is aware of Angus tossing and turning resulting in disturbed sleep. Ann helps Angus with washing, toileting, feeding and administering medication, she has had no training or guidance on how to move Angus safely and this puts her and Angus at risk of injury every time she attempts to help him physically. Ann who has given up her job to care for Angus fulltime has become isolated, she has lost all her friendships at work, her independence, and the sad thing is that Ann does not even see herself as being a Carer, it is her friend Cheryl who points out that she is indeed a Carer. She simply feels she is doing what any other daughter, wife and mother would do.

Ann has the financial strain of being solely dependent on Bob to support the family, this potentially could place the family at risk of poverty. This is particularly difficult as Angus and Bob do not get on and Bob resents the strain that Angus has placed on Ann and Zoe. Ann is suffering emotionally, she feels trapped in her role as carer, she presents to her doctor feeling overwhelmed however her doctor is unsupportive and simply prescribes antidepressants but fails to signpost her to other agencies which could offer support to alleviate the difficulties Ann and her family are experiencing. Ann eventually starts to receive some help from social services but sometimes accessing these services can generate additional problems as Ann discovers, she now had a home carer but had to blend her own routine with that of a home Carer who wasn’t able to carry out all of the tasks Ann performed.

It is evident that Ann and Angus do share a bond, Angus has an attachment to Ann, he wants to be with her and acknowledges that she does thoughtful things for him for example when she brings him his favourite biscuits with his tea. There are some tender moments shared between them and Ann must feel some sort of happiness that she is seeing through the promise she made to her mother to care for Angus. In a financial way it also is of some benefit to Angus, Bob and Zoe that they get to reside at the house owned by Angus. Ann eventually began to receive some assistance in the form of a home carer who visits daily and also benefits from Angus going into respite care occasionally. This gives Ann some time to recuperate from her caring duties and allows Ann, Bob and Zoe to have some time as a family.

From this assessment it is clear to see that Ann faces substantially more difficulties than rewards. This assignment illustrates how Ann found herself thrown into her role of Angus’s carer. Her difficulties were draining her physically and emotionally, she was overwhelmed and felt trapped, family life was disrupted, her marriage to Bob was becoming strained and her daughter Zoe was having difficulties at school, But Ann was simply too overwhelmed caring for Angus, she didn’t have the time or energy to address these issues. Ann’s doctor was unsupportive and failed to find a long term solution to Ann’s difficulties when she presented to him feeling at the end of her tether.

References: Care: A family affair (Jan Walmsley)

Part B
I began my essay by first defining what a Carer is, that helped me to differentiate between a Carer and a professional care worker and from that it enabled me to make a clear separation between the two roles. I found it beneficial to take notes from each transcript from unit one, this highlighted the key difficulties that Ann was experiencing. I then decided I would separate my assignment into 4 headings:

1. Introduction
2. Difficulties
3. Rewards
4. Conclusion
This allowed me to structure each topic accordingly and to avoid different concepts leaking into one another. I found myself very enthusiastic when it came to highlighting the difficulties, they seemed to be endless and from the transcripts it was evident how overwhelmed Ann was caring for Angus, Ann seemed to be getting pulled in lots of different directions as she struggled to care for Angus whilst maintaining some sort of normal family life. I felt it important to include the difficulties Ann was experiencing trying to hold her family together, because Bob is not a relative to Angus, it seems much more practical to him to put Angus in a home, it is obviously more complicated for Ann because of the promise she made to her mother and also because she does love her stepfather.

I could establish through the transcripts that Bob and Angus’s strained relationship made things more difficult for Ann, this no doubt contributed to the depressive feelings Ann was already experiencing. The rewards Ann received were much scarcer, it was difficult finding the silver lining in such a bleak situation. I have found this assignment a learning curve, I haven’t written an assignment in 15 years and I found it a daunting process, mainly because my technical skills are poor. That is an area I hope to improve as the course progresses.

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