Can Someone Refuse A Visit From A Social Worker.

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JG1965 | 15:56 Tue 15th Oct 2013 | Family Life
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A friend has said that her mother goes away quite alot and she has only been back a few days when yesterday a social worker was at her door but she was away for the day and they left a card saying they were concerned for her welfare, she told her daughter who was going to telephone them today for her, but a policeman arrived at the door saying social services had asked him to check, he took her mother's details and said he was just checking to see that she was Ok and that he could see that she was fine and would report back to social services. She thinks a neighbour or someone must have reported that they had not seen her about for a while. My friend tried to explain on the telephone as her mother is a bit deaf so does not like to use the telephone much herself, that the police had called and saw she was alright and would be calling them to tell them but they still want to visit, they were also quite rude on the telephone. What my friend's mother wants to know can she refuse the visit from social services as she is really angry about this and having a policeman call at the house.


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Just called my friend and she said that her mother has decided that she is still going away tomorrow as everything is booked and it will cost her to cancel and she is just going to email them to let them know she won't be in and will either give them a call while she is a way or on her return.Woofgang can I ask what job you did working closely with Social Services?
Something doesn't quite add up. If the neighbour is so concerned about the mother, surely that means they must know each other fairly well? If so, why don't they call at the house themselves instead of bothering social services, police and so forth. It's all at public expense and there might have been somewhere else where a genuine crisis was going on that the SW could have attended, instead.

Intriguing thought though. Where does 'concerned neighbour' begin to stray into 'nosey neighbour' territory?

It bothers me that the social services are allowed to fob off the people on the receiving end of the visit with "we are not at liberty to divulge the reasons we're here to see you" because, in this specific case, that would just give the game away that someone indeed does have their eye on them, in a way that seems to not be happily accepted or appreciated.

There isn't the time or the money but it would be fun if the reportee was subjected to an identical routine visit just so they know what they're putting their 'neighbour/pal' through. ;-)
Hypgnosis my own nosey neighbour doesn't know me at all, she is just a gossip and curtain twitcher. her "concern" is her hobby. Its conceivable that this lady's NN did go and knock on the door, got no answer and decided to call SS.
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Hypognosis she does not know the neighbours very well, just the usual Hello, lovely day etc sort off thing, she's not the sort of person that goes in and out of neighbours houses or prys into other people lifes.
JG i am a retired Occupational Therapist. I worked in arranging safe discharge for older people from local hospitals and also visiting folk in their own homes who had problems managing at home. It wasn't uncommon for a neighbour to "pounce" as I arrived and to have the person I was home visiting with from hospital or visiting at home to say to me "she (or he) is a nosey old B* don't tell them anything." Of course we weren't allowed to anyway because of patient confidentiality

Hypgnosis I get your point about knowing who put the report in but in genuine cases, its important to be able to give the reporter anonymity because abusers are often violent people.
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Thanks Woofgang, my friend's mother has sent the email don't know if they will read it before they call or not, but that is there problem. My friend says that her mother is very upset and angry, I don't blame her, she feels like she is being treated like an imbecile and someone that has to report her every movement to nosey busy bodies. I completely agree with Hypognosis its a complete waste of public money and police time.
I am with your friend's Mum. Social care is important and MOST Social workers do an excellent job. It seems that here there has been a common sense lapse.
The social services are damned if they do and damned if they don't - called nosey busybodies by some yet condemned for not getting more involved in numerous high-profile cases in recent years.
Bibble. they choose the job, no one makes them do it.
and when they try to do that job that get blamed for interfering but if they adopt a hands-off approach get blamed if something goes wrong
As I said, they chose the job.... I had similar issues in my job. Relis and GP's who thought that frail older people should "go into a home" used to tell me that i should "make them" accept res care and not "let them" leave hospital. I lost count of the number of times that I pointed out that it was a hospital not a jail and that I had no control whatsoever over what people chose to do provided that they were competent to make their own choices. This was long long before the Mental Capacity Act which enshrined good practice into law.
Hi woofgang,

//Hypgnosis I get your point about knowing who put the report in but in genuine cases, its important to be able to give the reporter anonymity because abusers are often violent people. //

Yep, I wasn't expecting that the SW should be obliged to give name and address of the person who sent them in. The words "a neighbour hasn't seen you for weeks and was becoming concerned" should have sufficed and, by censoring even that, the person on the receiving end is left wondering who brought the visit about.

The neighbour a few doors down the road who they occasionally nod or say hello to but otherwise don't really know would be the last person they'd think of. So they'd become unnecessarily suspicious of [the intentions of] their relatives or actual close friends. When things such as "being put in a home" are at stake then the interfering neighbour is stirring up internal family mistrust, or causing bottled up problems to boil over and creating an awful mess.

Naturally, if the person of concern is already diagnosed as paranoid then it doesn't help to confirm their fears of being watched and you'll have to convince them it was a pre-scheduled visit.

That happens a lot, woofgang. Or relatives being quite controlling and asking for something different from what the client actually wants or needs. We won't go by a relative's wishes, unless they have Power of Attorney. It's quite amazing sometimes what relatives ask us to do or say.
been there pixie...
Hypgnosis, even if they would say "a neighbour" it can kick off witch hunts around which neighbour and can really cause trouble. The SW can say something like "we had a phonecall expressing concern that you hadn't been seen for a few days" and, in fact, whoever called may not have left their information, you don't have to.
But yes, I agree, meddling in such a way can cause even more upset that it has done in this case.
could she have missed an appointment at the hospital or doctors or something~? something that may have raised concerns?
something that was booked a while ago.
has she had any accidents etc?
sometimes they send people round then, just to check the person is coping.
if the mother goes away all the time, why would this neighbour suddenly decide not seeing her for a few days was suspicious? surely she disappears all the time...
joko, to my knowledge, medical stuff like missed appointments and so on would be followed up by the NHS (if at all) and not by social services, it would also be more likely to be by letter, possibly by district nurse or community staff contact. In any case it wouldn't trigger such insistence on a SW visit and certainly not be passed to the police unless there was a rea serious reason to be concerned. the only time I ever took such action in more than 20 years of practice was when a very frail lady had been newly discharged from hospital and I was to visit her the next day. When i got there, there was no answer to the doorbell, the dog was kicking off, the milk was still on the step and the house still had the curtains drawn at lunchtime. In the event, the lady had gone for a mid day nap and removed her hearing aids!!
and the answer about why would the neighbour take action (assuming that it was that neighbour) is that she had nothing better to do..........

//to my knowledge, medical stuff like missed appointments and so on would be followed up by the NHS (if at all) and not by social services, //

Some years back, I missed a number of CBT sessions because I was too ill to attend (I still have CFS, to this day).

No social worker visited to see if I was okay. I was just summarily booted off the CBT course without any attempt at communicating with me to see what had gone wrong.

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