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Care & carers


(28 Posts)
gillybob Mon 15-Dec-14 13:19:40

I am extremely worried and would welcome any advice.

As many of you know I look after my elderly grandma and with the help of social services I have now managed to put carers in place who see her three time every day. At the minute she is quite poorly and unable to weight bear at all so relying on me and carers for everything. It was my grandsons birthday yesterday so I couldn't go to grandmas but spoke to her last night and she told me that one of the carers has put a "nappy" on her and told her that if she needs the toilet she should just "go" in the nappy. She was extremely upset and told me this morning (I was there on my way to work) that she would hold it in all day until this evening when I can get back. I told her that she couldn't do that as she would make herself even more ill and it might be late before I can get there (Ihave the grandchildren straight from work on a Monday so can only get there once DH gets in from work etc.) but she said that the carer said she couldn't/wouldn't take her to the toilet so it's tough. Grandma very distressed on the phone and telling me that she is frightened of the carer.

I just don't know what to do. I appreciate it is a very hard job to look after the elderly (I love her and she drives me mad sometimes) but I hate the thought of her being treat like this. On the other hand will saying something to the carers make them worse? I'm at my wits end.

merlotgran Mon 15-Dec-14 13:23:47

I would phone the care agency straight away, gillybob. Inco pads are fine if the elderly person understands they are put on to prevent soiling the bed in an emergency but they shouldn't be used because the carer can't be bothered to take the person to the toilet.

If she cannot bear her own weight, how are they going to manage your grandmother's care?

Riverwalk Mon 15-Dec-14 13:28:13

Does Grandma have a commode that could be put next to the bed?

You might need to be present for the next carer visit to get the facts.

Riverwalk Mon 15-Dec-14 13:38:48

A skilled carer should be able to transfer a patient, who can sit up and has some upper body strength, from the bed to the commode using a 'banana' transfer board.

Elegran Mon 15-Dec-14 13:39:28

She runs the risk of getting a sore bot/bedsores and a kidney infection, and at her age either could be fatal. The whole point of carers is to care for her, not to allow her to get worse. If she is too heavy for one carer to help alone, then there should be two carers there for her. A commode might help, but she could be in danger of falling while getting to it.

Get onto them and stir it, Gillybob

Anya Mon 15-Dec-14 13:43:41

Report this immediately it is just not on angry

gillybob Mon 15-Dec-14 13:46:04

Up until last Tuesday she was managing to get to the toilet using her walker with wheels. It took her a long time but she managed. On tuesday morning she woke up with her foot hugely swollen and throbbing. Its bright purple. I called the doctor who gave her more pain killers and extra water tablets to try and get the swelling down. I rang SS who brought a commode (same day, to their credit) merlogran. But during the night she had tried to get up to use the commode and ended up toppling it and herself over and she spent the night on the floor. Typically she had forgot to put her emergency bracelet on and couldn't reach the phone. I have virtually never been away since (with the exception of yesterday Sunday). She can use the commode, with help to stand up and I am disappointed with the carers for being so lazy.

I'm not sure about one of the carers Riverwalk I have been there many times when she arrives and she seems to be play acting to me. Being overly nice and overly concerned while I am there. Grandma says she is horrible to her when there's no-one around to see it. It is this carer who has put the nappy on her. I don't want to see anyone getting into trouble but I can't just sit back and see grandma so distressed. I can't carry on like this for much longer though. I thought the carers were supposed to make things easier.

Elegran Mon 15-Dec-14 13:51:48

Stuff not wanting to get anyone into trouble. Both you and grandma have doubts about this carer. She sounds like a lazy uncaring deceitful cow. Get on to her supervisor and ask to get another.

soontobe Mon 15-Dec-14 13:53:10

It sounds like you may possibly have a rogue carer.
You must report her so she can be checked out to make sure that she is fit to be a carer. And not just to your grandma.
She may need additional training.

Eloethan Mon 15-Dec-14 14:07:15

This doesn't sound right to me. I believe that it would be considered "bad practice" to refuse to take an elderly person to the toilet and force them to soil themselves. However, I agree with the points made by the other posters re ability to get to the toilet and provision of a commode.

I would also be concerned at your grandma saying she is frightened of the carer - unless you are aware that your grandma's accounts of events aren't always accurate, due to confusion and anxiety. Even if that were possibly to be the case, it needs some investigation.

I'm not sure whether you should speak to the carer first and see how she responds. You've already indicated that you understand people who are unwell and bedbound can be challenging at times, so I'm sure you would be tactful in your approach. If you feel the carer responds in a "cagey" way and you are not satisfied with her explanation, I would definitely raise your concerns with the agency.

I hope you manage to sort this out gillybob as it's obviously very upsetting for you.

Agus Mon 15-Dec-14 14:10:05

Of course you can't carry on like this gilly and neither should your Grandma have to. If this carer gets into trouble, she has brought it upon herself, not your problem and it may well be the case that she has been pulled up for not doing her job properly before.

Don't hesitate to speak to her supervisor and request a change of carer.

littleflo Mon 15-Dec-14 14:20:07

Your gran does not have to put up with this. You can ask the agency not to send that carer again. You do not have to give a reason. It is better to be on the agency's case, so that thet know the standard you expect. It will not make things worse for your mum. Most carers are extremely good, and are just as keen to get rid of the bad ones as it reflects on them all.

Galen Mon 15-Dec-14 14:23:40

Case for covert filming if there ever was one!

littleflo Mon 15-Dec-14 14:25:36

Sorry to disagree with Eloethan, but I think should keep a professional distance from the carer and deal with it through the Agency. They will know if there have been other reports regarding her attitude.

gillybob Mon 15-Dec-14 14:40:09

Quick update. I have taken your advice and spoke to the care agency. I was very tactful and put it to them that "I appreciate that some elderly people can be challenging" I said that I was concerned and worried and not pointing a finger at anyone. I asked whether it would be common practise for a carer to take it on themselves to provide "protection" without the knowledge of the family and then to suggest that the elderly person should use it instead of going to the toilet. The care co-ordinator said she would ask some questions and get back to me. My grandma is fully aware of everything. Bright even, considering her very advanced years! she is beautifully clean and proud too and is finding this lack of dignity very hard to bear.

Exactly what my son said to me this morning Galen. Not sure how we would stand legally though?

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 15-Dec-14 15:01:19

You've done the right thing Gillybob. Let us know what they say when they get back to you. What the carer suggested was just so wrong. Amazingly awful. hmm

hildajenniJ Mon 15-Dec-14 15:07:25

Here's a thought gilly, does the care agency provide their workers with moving and handling training? How often do they have to take the course? How long do they have for each visit?
That being said, everything should have been explained to your Grandma, and the reasons given to her for the use if the incontinence product.
In the home where I worked we were not allowed to use transfer boards, and if anyone needed to get up during the night, we had to use a hoist. Lifting anyone on to a toilet or commode was strictly forbidden on health and safety grounds, because if we were injured, or the client fell, the company would be liable.
We had to do endless risk assessments for every task which involved moving and handling.
I hope you soon resolve this matter with the care agency. We are in a similar position with my Dad who is prone to falls these days.

merlotgran Mon 15-Dec-14 15:25:45

You've done the right thing by contacting the agency, gillybob. I know exactly where you are coming from because I went through all this with my mother, firstly at home with carers going in three times a day (very good)
secondly in an assisted care home (terrible) and lastly in an excellent nursing home where it was a relief not to have to worry about her care.

I used to joke that I was public enemy no. 1 in the assisted care home because the neglect was appalling but you have no choice but to keep on top of things and if you have any suspicion of abuse you must report it. Don't worry about making things worse because abusive carers know this is how you will be feeling so they get quite confident that they won't be found out.

The main thing is to let your grandma know you are going to sort things out, without alarming her. Mum used to worry about repercussions but I assured her this wouldn't happen. That wasn't strictly true but she trusted me to take care of things.

Good luck. This kind of thing makes my blood boil because it puts such a lot of stress on the families. angry

durhamjen Mon 15-Dec-14 16:51:44

I thought all carers worked in pairs. Three visits a day is not enough for someone who cannot weight bear.

soontobe Mon 15-Dec-14 16:59:27

I used to think that too. May be it used to be the case?
But at the beginning of this year, I spent 3 days and nights looking after a frail aunt [who had similar needs regarding care as gillybob's grandma], and was surprised to discover that for the getting out and putting to bed part, only one carer came. For the personal care bit, there were two.

Mishap Mon 15-Dec-14 17:06:54

You have done right to contact the agency. They are inspected and all their carers should have the proper training. I am afraid you are going to have to be persistent and insistent here.

Ask the agency for a moving and handling assessment to be carried out in your presence with a written and signed plan of action. Agencies are obliged to carry out proper assessments before putting in care; and to review the situation if anything changes.

If you do not get a useful reply from the agency very quickly then contact the Care Quality Commission - they register care agencies.

soontobe Mon 15-Dec-14 17:11:12

It is a shame that the general public are not aware of what you have written Mishap.
It is always handy to know how systems work. And can be life changing too.

merlotgran Mon 15-Dec-14 18:33:32

They don't always work in pairs, durhamjen but I think they have to if a hoist is involved.

grannyactivist Mon 15-Dec-14 18:43:42

This sort of scenario is exactly why families install secret cameras! angry
What a horrid situation to be in gillybob - and there are no easy answers, but if you don't have trust in one of the carers I think you would be wise to at least enquire if it's possible to have her replaced. (Due to 'personality clashes' perhaps?)

Gracesgran Mon 15-Dec-14 18:49:56

I do wonder if we are going to end up with more and more CCTV in elderly peoples homes. I sometime think it would give me piece of mind to be able to look in on Mum and I would certainly be pro it if she had carers.

However, and there is always one isn't there, it's very much an invasion of the old persons privacy. I would really want to know what was going on with your Grandma though, gillybob.