Gabriel’s Angels gained a standard of “outstanding” at their last CQC audit for client responsiveness and this is no mean feat! Being responsive to an outstanding level can often mean going the extra mile in terms of effort - especially when we have to liaise at inconvenient times with Social Services and the emergency services.
Lisa Jensen, Care Co-Ordinator Manager at Gabriel’s Angels was not officially “on call” late on a recent Friday night when she stepped in to take a call from local Social Services for an emergency care request with little detail available at the time – but which involved an individual with complex care needs triggered by PTSD due to early childhood trauma.
Lisa explains “The communication we got through was that the client was complex and reluctant to receive care so the beginning of this case journey was not easy, and it took hours of communication between the police and Social Services to piece together a picture as to how we could best support the client. They had gone into a state of disassociation when feeling stressed and this is a mechanism used by the body to cope. When we got there the client was not there and had wandered out and about in a dissociative state, and we had to raise an alarm to the police who had brought the client home - and that’s when our journey began”.
Luckily, Lisa as points out, “the client had built an amazing relationship with two policewomen, so when the client comes out of dissociation the client texts them and they use just 3 words to provide the location - and eventually they did. Upon meeting, our client was naturally stressed so was non-verbal, scared and confused, and communicated via writing/ sign language or texting at the beginning and go into dissociative states often – so it would take time to warm up to anyone new or unfamiliar.”
“We took the process slowly and ensured our client was always aware who was coming and had a picture and some information about the carer. We also made sure the carers going in were fully briefed and supported by the Gabriel’s Angels management team - they needed to know we were in the background and were fully present while they connected with the client”.
“In the amount of time we have been supporting this client - who is now fully verbal and is very aware of their own needs and how to communicate them with us - we can support the client in the best way, and they now have a very open communication the Gabriel’s Angels office team as well. Most importantly our client has a team of phenomenal carers handpicked and matched to our client needs/age/personality and interests; all the carers have a strong connection with our client in one way or another, they fully understand them, and that is fundamental in making the client feel safe and supported.”
Summing up Lisa added “For me, care is not about sending an impersonal carer in and providing that care, it is about the person’s individual needs and experiences. When matching the right carer with the client, it’s about our experience and instinct to know what will best support the individual without them having to say it. Supporting the care worker is vital, they really have the hardest job, and as they are our eyes and our ears, they are also the ones that take on all the emotional strain”.
“This experience has also graphically demonstrated how the social and emergency services with ourselves can effectively work together to ensure that anybody needing urgent care does not fall through cracks in the system”.