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Dr Michael Foster

Dr Michael Foster | Blandford Forum

My father-in-law, who had been given a terminal diagnosis, had reached the point where he was immobile. The local GP, advised admission to hospital and suggested that a Nursing Home ought to be considered, and that he would have to be self-funding.

My father-in-law then spent two months in hospital, to the point that, although he was still in need of medical care (Oxygen 24/7, his urinary catheter having to be flushed out at least twice a day, plus morphine pain relief, a bad chest infection, with ongoing antibiotics administered), a decision was made by the discharge team, that he should be moved to a Nursing home, and that he would be self-funding.

I had guessed that would be the judgment of the Hospital discharge team, given the views of the local GP. Despite this I was convinced he should qualify for Continuing Healthcare Funding, but I lacked the expertise to challenge the decision. A week before the discharge was to take place, I had contacted Compass CHC, who provided an assessment by phone that he should qualify. I then paid the fee for Compass CHC to prepare a case. I had discussed the matter with my father-in-law, and we took the view that even if we lost an appeal against the decision, he would be no worse off, as the fee came out of his resources, and the amount would simply be an amount less that Social Services could claim.

I then was able to speak to the Discharge Team about the provision of Continuing Healthcare Funding. I was told that the matter had been discussed and that he did not qualify. I then listed my father-in-laws medical needs (beyond nursing care) and informed the lady to whom I spoke, that I had taken advice from a specialist firm, who suggested my father-in-law qualified, and that they would submit a fast track application. Within four hours, the lady telephoned back, and said that the funding had now been granted! We had a choice of three Nursing Homes, and although my father-in-law died two weeks after he was moved, the care provided in the Shaftesbury Cedars Nursing Home (a not for profit charity) was exemplary.

Although Compass CHC in the end did not need to action an application, they had gained the records from which to mount a claim, and I suspect the very fact they were behind us, was sufficient to cause a rethink by the Hospital Discharge Team, and grant that which was our due. It is lamentable that no-one in the chain from GP to the Hospital suggested that we might qualify. Although the information is in the Hospital's leaflets, until my informed challenge, we were only ever told that my father-in-law will be self-funding.

The Reverend Dr Michael Foster

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