You can’t rely on anyone …
April 2014 and 2007
My Dad, 87, had agency care at home, I paid for it and wanted 1 hour of care for him even though Dad only actually needed to be checked on and ensured that he was taking his medication.
However the carers would either not turn up or only be with him 30 minutes. Therefore I reduced the paid for time to 30 minues. Then they only spent 15 minutes, so I had to reduce it to 15 minutes. It was pointless paying for time they didn’t do.
One day the OT called me, she had visited and noticed that Dad’s curtains were pulled and post was on the floor. This was 4 hours after the carers morning call. I rushed round there and Dad was on the floor, he had fallen and been there all night and he couldn’t get to the door as he usually would have done. The carer had not enquired what was wrong, Dad said he was frightened and heard a knock on the door, but no-one came to help him. Despite there being a keysafe. She did not bother to go in! She left a note thought he door saying “I rang the door, hope you are alright”.
My Dad had to go to hospital. The carers were recommended by social services to use but we paid for them. Social Service said they would investigate the agency and questioned the care worker, the answer was: that she didn’t know why the carer didn’t go in.
Nothing happened to the care worker, she just carried on working. “I will never forgive Social Services for that or forget”. I guess she thought something was wrong but that if she went in she would get involved and get behind in her work, or even that if Dad were dead, then this will all be too much trouble and paperwork. It’s called “I don’t want to care”.
This agency was later taken over actually, what happened was the name just changed.
After Dad was discharged from Broomfield in Chelmsford with a catheter bag, I was not really helped with this and given 5 minutes training. He had c-Dificil and had bad diarrhoea when he got home. It was a mess. They had sent the wrong fitments for the catheter bag. He was clearly still unwell and had to go back into hospital. I had to deal with all this with no help whilst attending the care home looking after my 94 year old mother.
He got more infections on the ward, on being discharged we received no help from the hospital. This was on a weekend and they expected me to arrange and find respite care over this period, whilst I was visiting also mum in the care home.
Another time my Dad also had another care worker. A male especially requested because he did not want to have his personal washing done by females. The agency agreed and then the male carer worker apparently was ill and then went on holiday, I was not told and the agency did not put in another male carer and Dad did not tell me that he hadn’t had a shower for weeks and weeks. Dad suffered with a large hernia and he had developed a horrible infection in his groin because he hadn’t been washed.
You pay all that money and you can’t rely on anyone.
I would say that in 2009 my mum was in a hospital in Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford and discharged to a hospital in xxxxxxxx for rehabilitation, after which she also was helped afterwards at home. This system worked and she had help to get over her operation. However later in a care home, there were a number of problems with her care. Foreign accented care workers made food that was not typically English that elderly English people did not want or were not used to eating. For example, one day a shepherds pie was made with something very hot like curry powder! The elderly did not like it, but it was insisted they eat it.
Staff were overworked, worn out, ill, breaks were not paid for. Some seemed simply not very bright. They were not enough staff. Staff numbers need to be thought about in homes to provide adequate care.
There are going to be thousands of baby boomers in the future to be cared for, which will flood the system, I don’t know what is going to happen to care.