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Care more like torture for both the cared for and the carer.

(49 Posts)
Kiora Fri 10-Jan-14 13:52:20

I have just heard something really upsetting and worrying. My friends daughter works for a care company and arrived at her mothers in tears. She has a job going to peoples houses mostly elderly to help with care. She's a kind gentle caring girl. Her clients love her and tell her they've never had someone so gentle. She can only work 16 hours a week as a single mum. The company continually make her work more than this making her frightened of being labeled a benefit cheat. They make up a rota so some of her visit only last 15 mins. She has to telephone to register she's at the clients home do what ever needs doing then write whats she's done in a book then telephone to register she's finished all in 15 minutes. Her next visit could be 6 miles away if she's late she won't be paid. So for instance she has to be at a house at 7 . Register that she's arrived, get the person up, washed and dressed and helped downstairs. Write in the contact book Telephone to say she's leaving and be at the next client 4 to 6 miles away by 7.15. It's impossible. So mostly she has been late leaving one client then late arriving at the next. Last week they told her this had to stop and if she was Late leaving or late arriving she wouldn't be paid for that visit. Today she tried to do it their way. She had to leave an elderly gentleman on a commode. One of her ladies soiled the bed and she didn't have time to make it and had to leave. She is now beside herself worrying about these poor people. She reported it to her employers who said if she doesn't like she will loose her job. When she she said ok she considered herself sacked and would leave they told her it was in her contract that she must give 2 weeks notice or she would be prosecute by the council for neglect. I would think the last bit is nonsense but I can't be sure. I'v left her and her mother in tears. How on earth is this kind of thing possible.

Grannyknot Fri 10-Jan-14 13:59:04

It is disgusting. Those flying visits are more disruptive than any help whatsoever if a person is not capable of looking after themselves.

I've written before about my elderly neighbour who lived across the road from me, she has since passed away. She had carers come in several times a day and more than once I would go and help her, coax her back indoors, because she would be standing in her front doorway in her incontinence pads and not much else, when the carer had just been. Perhaps your post goes some way towards explaining why she often did not seem settled after a visit.

[Disclaimer: of course this doesn't imply that all care organisations etc etc and all carers etc etc are equally as bad].

tanith Fri 10-Jan-14 14:05:43

Unbelievable pressure on all involved I can't imagine how that poor girl feels never mind the poor patients... how these companies can get away with it is beyond belief but they do.
I do wonder if the poor girl realises that if she quits her job she may have her benefits penalised for quitting she needs to be careful , I'm not sure who she should speak to but someone will be along that knows I'm sure.

sunseeker Fri 10-Jan-14 14:16:09

How can anything be done in 15 minutes? By the time she has taken her coat off and said hello, it would be time to leave. These are unrealistic targets. The time spent on a visit should surely reflect the amount of care each person requires. I don't know what can be done to change this - perhaps Age UK and other organisations could be persuaded to start a campaign.

Riverwalk Fri 10-Jan-14 14:16:15

Kiora I can well believe every word of your friend's daughter.

As a registered nurse I do occasional home nursing - I come into contact with many carers, from all over the world, who have worse stories to tell. These are carers who have in the past been employed by agencies who have contracts with local authorities.

When one told me over two years' ago about these 15-minute flying visits I have to admit I was sceptical that this could be the case - how my eyes have since been opened.

The tenders obviously go to the lowest bidders, as ever.

Mishap Fri 10-Jan-14 14:29:25

This is unacceptable. The lass should contact the Care Quality Commission about this agency. She can do this anonymously.

Riverwalk Fri 10-Jan-14 14:35:06

Mishap the CQC must be already well aware of the situation nationwide.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 10-Jan-14 14:39:59

I think it would be worth reporting that particular agency.

JessM Fri 10-Jan-14 14:49:13

The final threat sounds like complete nonsense to me. If you breach an employment contract usually nothing happens at all. They could sue you in theory but they are not going to waste money on doing that.
She would be perfectly entitled to take them to an employment tribunal for constructive dismissal. She could try saying she was going to do this as a way of getting them to give her a reference. As in " I'd like a written reference from you to say that I was honest and reliable with good attendance" and if they start threatening or protesting suggest that she will have to consult a friend who is a solicitor.
I agree with Mishap (and Jings) report them. They are putting profit before "care".

Riverwalk Fri 10-Jan-14 14:54:25

And what about the role of the local authorities in all this?

They're paying for 15-minute visits - they must surely know how little can be achieved in that time.

FlicketyB Fri 10-Jan-14 14:56:00

I would think taking the employer to court for constructive dismissal would be a way of both publicising this problem and getting this poor girl some recompense for the pressure she has been under.

Aka Fri 10-Jan-14 15:00:04

I agree with Flickety. Get your young friend to google 'constructive dismissal' and you'll find she has a strong case. I suggest she sends a letter to both the company employing her and the Local Authority. The latter are more likely to react as I know from experience.

annodomini Fri 10-Jan-14 15:16:02

Since this service is contracted out by the council to the agency that employs your daughter, they ought to know about the inadequacy of the service. Your daughter would therefore be a whistle blower. One of the reasons for whistle blowing is given as: "someone’s health and safety is in danger". It seems to me that this is most certainly the case if so little time is given to each client and your daughter's health and safety are at risk because she is being put under stress by her working conditions. Hers is not an uncommon story. I heard the same a number of times when I was a CAB adviser. I also heard that carers had to supply their own vehicles and were not paid mileage. If your daughter goes to the CAB for advice, she should ask them to complete a Bureau Evidence Form so that Cit Ad researchers can compile a dossier of evidence about the poor quality of care. Government does - sometimes - pay attention to CAB evidence.

ninathenana Fri 10-Jan-14 17:01:50

Sad to say I'm not at all surprised by this. I have every sympathy with the girl.
Mum's carer used to have 1/2 hr to get her up, showered, dressed and given breakfast. She was also expected to wash up. Try doing that in the allotted time with a resistant dementia client. Mum quiet often didn't get a shower as there just wasn't the time to negotiate with her.Then as was said you have to factor in the writing up notes too. Part of the carers job is to give the client social interaction. Fat chance !
It's not just the agency refered to in OP that are at fault. I think it's a very common problem.

Joelsnan Fri 10-Jan-14 17:30:01

These companies should be named and shamed and their disgraceful practices ended. It seems that everything is profit orientated nowadays...what a sad state of affairs sad

Mishap Fri 10-Jan-14 18:05:44

Looks like a case for a TV undercover reporter to me - it can make a difference.

Aka Fri 10-Jan-14 18:25:21

That's been done already Mishap and it didn't make a blind bit of difference. Nobody really cares.

Ana Fri 10-Jan-14 18:27:26

You're right, Aka, it has been done - but I think several prosecutions were successfully made after one of the more high-profile programmes.

Iam64 Fri 10-Jan-14 18:29:26

It's the profit making problem again. LA's do contract out their services now, due to cuts, cuts and more cuts. In the good old days, we had home helps, later home carers, who worked alongside the social worker who'd asked for their input. this meant elderly people got to know their home carer, and the luxury of being able to take the time needed. It was more joined up, and the home carer could pop in to see the sw to let them know if more/less was needed.

Kiora Fri 10-Jan-14 20:45:56

I have rang to find out if they were ok. The daughter has ignored the warning and told them she will not work under these conditions and today would be her last day. They issued no more threats. One of her elderly gentleman has asked her to come twice a week and clean for him. She's not sure if there are any legal reasons why she couldn't. He would continue to be cared for by the agency this would be something separate. He cried when she left but she has said she will call in to see him for a cup of tea and let him know. I will pass on all your comments later. Her mum tells me she is still feeling upset and worrying about her clients. She feels she has let them down.

Aka Fri 10-Jan-14 20:47:05

Yes Ana several prosecutions but didn't make an impact as I've just seen on tonight's news the same thing happened again, this time abuse of dementia patients and their tormentors get 5 months apiece.

Tegan Fri 10-Jan-14 21:21:25

Did you see the people that were sent to prison? They looked horrible; I know I shouldn't judge people on appearance alone but they looked hard and uncaring. Thank goodness someone blew the whistle on them.

Riverwalk Fri 10-Jan-14 21:31:14

The thought of those poor residents at Hillcroft having balls bounced off their heads for fun makes me so angry.

I don't suppose there's any chance that the management of the company concerned will face any charges - the guilty staff had previous allegations against them.

The CQC is planning 'major changes' in inspection procedures. Don't hold your breath.

tilly200 Fri 10-Jan-14 21:47:34

This lady who has to leave a client on a commode should document the reason they were left, if anything happened the care company would not back up the carer.
If this was documented the family or Social worker could see how the service was being run.
15 minute calls are very common in home care work, some carers take this job on because they don't care about the people they are looking after its only a job to them, there are really good carer in home care but some Care Co-ordinators are only interested in getting the shifts covered.
As for the carers who abused the residents with Dementia 4 and 8 months was not long enough for them to be in prison for, I would have liked to see them locked up for at least 4 years.

Soutra Fri 10-Jan-14 22:08:32

She is a brave girl and I admire her for sticking up for her principles and for her patients. As much publicity as possible should be given to this shocking state of affairs if she is forced to continue in this vein.