Archive for November, 2013


Interview with Jan Romes with my new book Beyond My Control.



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A warning against apathy

This review is from: Beyond My Control: Why the Health and Social Care System Need Not Have Failed My Mother       

Beyond my control grips you by the heart strings and pulls you through a true story of frustration, anger, sadness and frequent utter despair. The book illuminates the dark corners of the overstretched, and at times entirely negligent, NHS and care services that is horrifying to witness. It follows the authors struggle to fight for her mother’s right for basic levels of care against what feels like a ruthlessly inhuman system that gripped her mother and processed her all the way to the end of life “Liverpool Care Plan”.

The book not only functions as a captivating modern story of a tragic struggle against ‘the system’ but serves to highlight the dangers threatening anyone in the receipt of care. The book introduces the authors mother from the outset, without relying on an unnecessary back story to the authors relationship with her to artificially pump the emotional impact of the book. The gravitas is in the eloquent and accurate recounting of the events leading to the mother’s death, allowing the genuine horror of the situation to serve as an honest vessel through which the message of the book is conveyed.

There are numerous moments in the book where your jaw will drop in shock at the 21st century care sector. If you think that we live in a transparent world where every action is taken to meet the basic standards that we expect for our loved ones in receipt of care, you are wrong. During your read, you will witness lying, negligence and carelessness at every level in the care and health services.

It is impossible not to feel great empathy with the authors frustration and sadness as she tries everything she can to improve the care for her mother. The feeling of hopelessness as the author repeatedly tries to rectify substandard care is suffocating at times as she is brushed off, ignored or just told her concerns will be ‘looked into’. The sense of the needless loss of life is incredible. The mother was admitted into hospital for a broken leg (as the result of negligent care), and through further hospital negligence and staff failing to follow the care plan, a pressure sore develops. We are left with a bitter taste in our mouths when the mother finally passes away in agony.

If you are a carer, in the receipt of care, or know anyone going through a similar situation, this book is highly recommended. The author does a great job of not only sharing her story, but giving you the tools and knowledge you need to best protect yourself and loved ones from negligence, which is summarised in convenient ‘what you need to know’ sections at the end of various chapters. While it is harrowing, it will certainly show you how important good quality care is and give any carer that works to good standards a sense of pride. In all, the greatest thing one can take away from this book is a warning against the apathy that exists throughout society when it comes to care standards. The author vocally rebels against this attitude from the outset reminding us that “accidents do not happen.”



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Review of Beyond My Control



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I was interviewed by the fabulous Jamallah Bergman in Atlanta, Georgia, please pop over and have a read, thank you.


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Interview with the Writer, Broadcaster & Campaigner Ruth Jacobs.


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As a society we do not discuss death and dying openly. Today I delivered training on Person Centred Support and part of this included supporting individuals to plan for their future well-being and the importance of supporting an individual to plan for their end of life care where appropriate.

Here is an extract:

Being person-centred [1]

The national End of Life Care Strategy for England defines, a good death‟


o being treated as an individual, with dignity and respect

o being without pain and other symptoms

o being in familiar surroundings

o being in the company of close family and/or friends.

We plan our life, why not plan our death?

We want a good death. We want …

  • Advance care planning[2] drawn up, which specifies my wishes as the end of my life approaches
  • Information about the dying process and the services available
  • To choose where to die, hospice, hospital or home [help is immediate in hospice and hospital]
  • Family and friends around us
  • Music of our choice playing in the background
  • Scented candles burning
  • Staff that have been trained so they can talk to us about our wishes and choices at the end of life
  • Competent staff, who treat us with dignity and respect [even if we appear to be unconscious]
  • Staff who speak to us and not down to us
  • To ensure that equipment such as syringe drivers and palliative care kits are available [if required]
  • A personal alarm if any of us become frail
  • Technology  so we can Skype my doctor, nurse etc. if we have any worries.

Decisions about my funeral:

Buried or cremated? Where do we want to be buried or cremated? If cremated where do we want my ashes scattered?

Do we want flowers, readings, music at our funerals?

What clothes do we want be dressed in. What jewellery and/or make up do we want to wear?

Decisions for after funeral:

A wake, or a celebration? People to be happy not sad.

After the funeral, drink, food, a celebration, memorial?

How we would like to be remembered, a plaque on a bench, a rose tree, a trust set up in my name?

Making a Will:

Some felt that if their late relatives had made a Will this would have made things a lot easier at the time of losing a loved one. Without the Will there had been difficulties on knowing what possessions the late relative wanted to give to whom.


[1] Department of Health (2008), End of Life Care Strategy: Promoting high quality care for all adults at the end of life‟, London: Department of Health https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/end-of-life-care-strategy-promoting-high-quality-care-for-adults-at-the-end-of-their-life

[2] Advance Care Planning


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“Good afternoon Suzan, i have just finished reading your book Beyond my control, well firstly i think that you are very brave to have wrote the book like that knowing how upsetting it must have been for you and your family and what you went through, and secondly how it has inspired you to start improving the social care system with the help of all people involved in the profession and also what families and friends can possibly do, and what signs to look out for. There is a thousand more things i can say and i will say them on a few book reviews, but for now congratulations and well done on such a thought provoking and often very sad book. RIP to your dear Mum and Aunty and thoughts go out to your family also. xx”


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“I’m doing an early hours reading session. This is so heart wrenching. I am very surprised at my overly emotional response thus far. It’s hard to concentrate on as I find that my emotional response is quite profound, so I end up rereading lots of bits. I’m really struggling just to write this  message due to emotional brain fuzz. My mind wanders to thoughts of you at the time, my own parents and wishing I could have been more helpful. I want to say sorry but I’m not really sure what for. This will be a most emotive read. Heroic effort writing this Suzan, you have my most sincerest respect. Sorry for rambling in a most unmasculine manner. I will continue reading now.”

“I finished it but I’m going to reread the last 2 or 3 chapters again in a moment though because I found my mind wandering about abuse and “what if’s”. It’s the sign of a thought provoking book.”


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Friday, 8 November 2013

Book review – Beyond my Control

why the health and social care system need not have failed my mother by Suzan Collins

ISBN-13: 978-1781610282

BMC jpeg

For those concerned about the care and welfare of an older loved one, or indeed older people in general, this book is at times, a very personal and extremely emotional read.

From my own perspective…

Having, in 2012, experienced some of the faults and failures, of health and social care services in England – involving my own Mother’s wrongful pre-admission diagnosis, three week stay, and difficult discharge from our local hospital, I was particularly interested to read about someone else’s experiences. Fortunately, my Mother returned home, and I became her full-time carer. Sometimes, this isn’t always the case…

Suzan’s story…

Suzan takes us through her, and her family’s, personal, very private, often difficult, and sometimes extremely emotionally charged journey – a journey experienced by them and their Mother, thanks to an incident at their Mother’s care home, that resulted in a hospital admission, for both a broken ankle and fractured femur.

What happened during the next few months – is truly shocking…

Failures by the care home and its staff, in duty of care, and the failure to record and report the incident, along with conflicting accounts of what actually happened to cause such injuries, remain unresolved.

Failures by the hospital, not only in their duty of care, but dignity, respect, record keeping, the administration of controlled medicines, and the attitude of staff towards both patients and family members, is frightening.

During this incredibly difficult time, they had to deal with the unexpected death of a close family member, and long journeys, by car or train, from the east coast to the west coast, in order to visit their increasingly ill Mother.

Suzan has 33 years experience in both health and social care, but none of this would be of any help to her Mother – time after time the family’s requests were either ignored, or not acted upon. Nothing they did would help.

My feelings…

Being a carer for my Mother, I have to admit, that at times, I was in tears as I read about the unfolding events and crises that occurred during the weeks and months, of Suzan’s Mother’s stay in hospital. It was a journey I could very definitely relate to. Some of it, a journey I have yet to make. A journey, I sincerely hope, will not be as difficult and distressing, as the one experienced by Suzan and her family.

Suzan’s mission…

Suzan now has a mission to try to improve health and social care for older people. To ensure that that care, is of the required standard, that staff are able to voice their concerns without redress, and that the current re-active system to address issues in health and social care services, becomes pro-active. In the hope that what happened to her Mother, will never happen again. A mission for which, being an unpaid family carer, I would give my wholehearted support.

For everyone interested in, or concerned about, the care of an older person, within health and social care services, not only in this country, but across the developed world, and beyond, this is – a must read!

Suzan Collins is a professional trainer and consultant in health and social care, working across the country. She assess staff performance in Health, Social Care and Management, delivers training, carries out pre-inspection (Care Quality Commission) compliance checks and advises on policies and procedures on subjects that include ‘safeguarding’ vulnerable people from harm and abuse. Suzan campaigns for better standards of health and social care in care/nursing homes, at home and in hospitals. She also campaigns for better support for staff providing this care. In addition, she is author of six, internationally selling open-learning workbooks, one of which is on Safeguarding Adults.


Posted byMartynat05:43



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The fabulous Marlena Hand is hosting me today on her blog! Would love for you to stop by.


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