“I’ve been in these clothes for two days now. I haven’t had a shower. I feel awful.”

Guest post by Kirsty, who lives alone and needs support to get up, wash and dress, and leave the house. She uses a wheelchair. Her social care was cut by 50 hours a week, leaving her in huge difficulties. She has asked for her name to be changed to protect her identity.

I’ve been wearing these clothes for two days now. I haven’t had a shower. My hair isn’t tied back and I can’t do it myself. I feel awful. If I can’t find care tomorrow, that will be my third day in the same clothes.

For over 10 years, I was entitled to nearly 80 hours a week of care for getting up, showered and dressed, going about my daily life, and doing social activities. I also had an on-call service at night in case I needed the toilet.

Then I received a letter out of the blue telling me that I had five days to get some incontinence pads to wear at night, because my night care was being cut.

I am not incontinent and I have full sensation, so I’d be lying there from 10 o’clock at night until 8 o’clock in the morning.

I challenged the decision and won, but that triggered a review of my whole care package. As a result, my daytime care was cut to 23.5 hours a week – from 11 hours a day down to three and a half hours.

Under pressure

It has affected every single area of my life. Before, I was independent – not in the sense that I did everything for myself, but that I had choice and control over my life. Now I feel like the structure of my life has completely broken down.

I can’t leave the house on my own, so I am stuck inside most of the time. I can’t go to the bank, or to the shops without support. I live slap bang in the town centre, but if there’s no one here to help me I might as well be on the moon.

I get an hour and a half care in the morning, an hour for tea and an hour at night, and I’m always under pressure because I cannot complete the things I need to do in that time. I have been threatened with being left naked in the shower by agency staff because my time was up.

I now employ my own support worker, but her time is restricted – she has another job, and travelling to me three times a day wouldn’t be worth her while. We often have to combine my three calls into one, but then I’m left alone all the rest of the day.

If my support worker is away or off sick, I’m expected to cover care myself using agencies. There is often no one available, and then I’m left completely alone.

Stuck inside

At the moment I rely a lot on a close friend, but I shouldn’t have to put them in that position. I don’t ask them shower or dress me, but I’m still terrified that the pressure will put strain on our relationship.

The social things I used to do are impossible, unless a friend is prepared to help me – for example, they’d have to help me get into bed, still wearing my clothes.

I do worry about my mental health. Not being able to get out of the house, or go down the road to visit a friend, or even to the shop or to get some fresh air, is horrible.

I find it really shocking and distressing that even the basics aren’t in place for me – and there must be thousands in my position. I’m being made to feel like it’s wrong to expect to be showered and dressed every day. All I want is to be able to lead a normal life.

We’re asking the government to fund better social care for people like Kirsty. Read more on our Social Care webpage

The photo in this post is posed by a model.

5 thoughts on ““I’ve been in these clothes for two days now. I haven’t had a shower. I feel awful.””

  1. I’m sorry very much. For me is a moment of great sadness. Only would expressed that I love the people of England, I desire your success and in every time the people of Eland was a kind comportment with me and I love tidis people. I’m sorry. In this moment, I can wirite to much with sincerely. Never, never I’ll said one word against the United Kingdom. Than you very much

  2. This is barbaric,of course, and probably illegal. But is it beyond Scope to do anything but publicise it? The Care Act is pretty clear on the duties and obligations of LAs, and I believe it has been decided in Court that care packages should not be cut in this way.

    I am not a fan of “Big Society” ideas – but there are good people who could maybe spare an hour or two to help out on a voluntary basis – how about some joined up thinking about ways that could be organised? And decent legal advice on how this kind of thing can be challenged? If LAs are indifferent to the suffering being caused, can;t organisations like yours pitch in a bit more effectively?

    It sounds like Kirsty has a perrsonal budget – and if she is paying a carer directly, then she should be telling them what hours they work, and what they do. Very hard to organise

    It is dire, and very distressing, but a decent chunk of care once a day might work better than useless flying visits. There are good, caring people out there, and there are hopeless ones.

    Kirsty, you have my heartfelt sympathy.. Your situation is appalling, terrifying, and I hope you can find some support from somewhere.

  3. I am not trained in the health care factor what so ever, but this treatment is disgusting and if I even knew I lived near this girl I know I would help her in a heartbeat unpaid. I would do this in my free time, humans should not be allowed to live like this 🙁

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