Agency carers entering property out of hours (no permission

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Hi,

I am new to this forum but I have been a carer most of my life to my parents as they have various long term health conditions/disabilities. Since my father passed away, I am now just caring for my mother. She is currently entirely dependent on care, and since I sustained an injury myself recently, I have now gone down to caring for her only part-time, and have now gained part-time employment.

Since we have employed agency staff to fill in on the days I am not around (1x45 min visit in the morning then 3x30 min visits in the daytime/eve) to take care of personal care/toileting and to give my mother the food I have pre-prepared, we have had various issues. The one that has most recently alarmed me is there was an incident where a carer let herself back into the house unannounced late at night, and I feel is borderline trespassing and could do with some advice as to what to do about raising a complaint as I am not sure if what was done was illegal.

On the night in question, the carer (who was filling in for our usual ones so was new to us) had forgotten to plug in the battery for my mother's hoist when she came to put her to bed at 8 pm. So that you understand the set up at my house my mother lives in a "granny annexe" on the side of the house, and in the main part of the property my partner, his mother and myself live. We can gain access to my mother's annexe via the hallway at the front of the house (or a back door at the rear). The rest of the family and I were in at the time when we heard someone let themselves in at 10:15 pm. I panicked, as I heard them go into my mother's room as we had carers try and steal from us before and I was scared something horrible was going to happen to my mum. So I crept in (with my heart pounding in my ears) to eventually see the carer bent over plugging in the battery as I previously mentioned. I was shaken, but much relieved it was at least a "friendly" face that I was confronted with. Once I had composed myself l sat down and thought about it. It didn't feel right that she had not attempted to alert us she was coming back into the property outside the rota hours. I called the manager straight away, and she said she had tried to call me to let me know, but when she had no answer she gave the carer permission. I did have one missed call (which I didn't hear), which would have been one minute before the carer entered our property. Just one call? Surely she could have tried the doorbell? Or tried to call me a few more times? I don't see how the manager could permit at that time of night for a carer to enter the property on those grounds. It scared my mum and me witless as well as the rest of the family. It was also highly insensitive as they are fully aware of the problems we had with a carer we didn't know from a previous agency trying to steal from us.

If anyone knows if this a potential breach of the law or possibly our contract with the agency please post a comment, as I want to make a formal complaint but want to know where I stand.

Thanks in advance.

B
Hi Bryony,
I would say don't panic, it sounds like the agency worker was panicing about having forgotten to harge up the hoist and did infact check with her office before entering. At that time of night she may have been worried about waking you all up. I do understand why you freaked out but if anyone is at fault the office are to blame for not ensuring they made contact with you first. They were probably trying not ot bother you. It may have been worse if the hoist had conked out mid lift the next morning. I'm not saying they acted perfectly but perhaps just trying to rectify their frogetfulness.
I have been both sides of the fence as done some proofessional care work and one tip I would give you , assuming you have a keybox outside is to have another lock fitted that you can use, and you alone so that you can still secure the house at times of your choosing.
Hi Bryony,
That must've given you quite a scare. However I think the care worker was trying to rectify the issue of the hoist, whereas some might've just not bothered. I agree with Henrietta's comments and advice.

Melly1
Thank you both for taking the time to reply.

As much as I realise that the intentions of this out of hours visit were coming from a good place it was firstly unnecessary as the charge on the battery can last more than one day. Even if it wasn't picked up on by myself before I went to bed, the carer the following morning could put it on charge after breakfast until the lunch call to top it up (as has happened in the past).

The main question I am asking here is this out of hours entry a breach of the law? We have had an attempted robbery here by a care worker in the past, so I may seem like I am being over the top, but please keep that in mind. I just want to know if anyone knows if anything about this is included in most agency contracts, or in an act/code/law we all have to live by? I do have experience working with a sitting service myself for people with dementia, so I do have empathy for the carers intentions. But Iknow for sure I wasn't allowed back into the home outside of the scheduled hours regardless of what I had forgotten to do. My question is one of fact regarding the law, not pointing blame at the individual. The only finger pointing I am doing currently is at the organisation.

Thanks in advance,
B
Also I take your point about getting a second lock fitted. But is that even possible for a UPVC door with a triple lock mechanism? Where would it go, and how would it work??! I can understand for a wooden door but not seen extra locks on UPVC as far as I know so if you can help me there I would appreciate it.

Thanks in advance,

B
Hi Bryony, I must admit I was talking about a wooden door, hopefully someone can help?
Under those circumstances, I would ask that it's put on the care plan IN LARGE LETTERS that "under NO circumstances should staff enter the properly between the hours of ... " "breaking this rule will result in a formal warning!"