Son praises social services after mum suffers stroke before 99th birthday

When resident Madge Colbourne suffered a stroke just before her 99th birthday her son Keith did not know what to do.

But thanks to social services, Madge was able to enjoy a period of time at The Heathers in Worthing – an assisted living facility – while the team assessed what support she would need in order to return home.

Keith said: “We firmly believe that if our mother had gone home it was an accident waiting to happen.

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“She wasn’t eating properly and being only partially sighted and hard of hearing, Mum definitely needed help.

Madge Colbourne celebrating her birthday at home with her grea -granddaughter Madelaine who turned seven on the same day

“You always think your parents are going to go on and on – we almost take for granted that they will always be around – until she came to a standstill.

“When that happened we didn’t know what to do. We were in a helpless situation but social services really stepped in and stepped up to the mark and went even further.”

Madge spent eight days at Worthing Hospital after a small stroke and an infection.

Fiercely independent and approaching her 99th birthday, she was not able to return home where she lived alone just yet, but neither was she unwell enough to remain in hospital. Her family were concerned what the next steps for her would be.

But fortunately for the Colbourne family, help and advice was at hand after a meeting with Jenny Shaw, one of the county council’s senior social work practitioners who is part of the Worthing Hospital Social Work Team.

Jenny discussed the Discharge to Assess scheme, which allows patients ready to leave hospital the chance to have their care needs fully assessed in a non-acute setting.

After a period of recuperation at The Heathers following her assessment by the Discharge to Assess team, Madge was able to enjoy her 99th birthday party, back home with her family and friends and alongside her great-granddaughter Madelaine, who also celebrated her seventh birthday on the same day.

“She might not have made it to her 99th birthday without having that support from social services and her time at The Heathers,” said Keith.

He added: “I have complete trust in social services, they made all the right decisions for Mum.”

Amanda Jupp, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for adults and health, said: “No-one wants to have to stay in hospital any longer than is absolutely necessary, and with such a significant birthday coming up for Madge I am so pleased our social work team were able to help her on the road to recovery so that she could enjoy her birthday at home, surrounded by her loved ones.”

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