Female carer

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
I'm sorry, I am not a carer but my mum is in receipt of the full care package due to illness.Apologies if this is the wrong place to have posted this but I was hoping for a little advice from a popular forum and from people in the know.

My mum will leave hospital for home tomorrow and the night time carer ("tuck" visit I think they call it) will be male.

My mum needs help with everything from changing into her pajamas to wiping after the toilet. My question:

Is there a legal obligation for the social home care departments to provide a female carer at my mothers request and if the council here in Scotland to not have female carer available should they outsource to a private company?

My mum is sound of mind but unfortunately not of body. The thought of a male carer dealing with my mums incontinence is causing her a great deal of stress on top of the many illnesses she now has.

I'm 100% certain my mum will refuse assistance from a male carer and try to do things herself which will ultimately result in a fall and in turn broken limb and further hospitalization.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Ross
Don't panic- I've worked for a care agency and employed 4 others- it is quite normal and acceptable (and for that matter in todays world legal) to ask fo ra male or femail carer when it comes to personal care. Just make sure your mum's wishes are known at the outset.
If your mum wants a female carer she should have one. I believe the Sex Discrimination act, now the Equality Act, allows people to ask for a male or female worker when dealing with intimate care.
Personally, I find it embarrassing to have a male nurse, I really resent being placed in a position of having had to accept one in a private hospital when my catheter was being removed. It's not OK to say "It's all right, isn't it"?
My granny was in the same predicament and asked for female carers as of her incontinenxe and the care conpamy was happy to obligise
Oh, Good Luck with all that - I would hope your Mum gets a female carer for these intimate tasks.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply.

I had taken the advice from your replies and asked for a female carer and although the said there were none available initially, I phoned back and asked them to provide a female carer through a private carer company and they were happy to oblige. I'm a little confused why they didn't offer this during my first phone call. Luckily I was found that this was an option otherwise I would have been non the wiser.

....Circumstances have since changed since leaving this post in that my mum has just had news that the cancer has spread to her brain which means she only has weeks to live. I'm devastated. :(

My mums wish is palliative care at home.

Does anyone know if McMillan nurses offer 24 hour care. I cannot bear the thought of my mum being alone during the night when they take her off the steroids and her condition deteriorates as she will become confused and delirious again.
Ask your mum's GP to make a "Fast track Continuing Healthcare Request". Care should be arranged within 48 hours, whatever mum needs. Either at home or in residential care. Is there a hospice in your area, ours offers a "Hospice at Home" service I believe. What do YOU want, home or nursing home or hospice?
If she isn't receiving it already, she is entitled to Fast Track Attendance Allowance - there are special rules for the terminally ill.

This is the time you have to try to put your own feelings aside and do what needs to be done, I'm afraid. Having dealt with a number of people in the final stage of life, the sooner you make arrangements with the funeral director of your choice, the better. Start a notebook and make notes about mum's favourite music, if she has any final wishes etc. She may last longer than you think, or shorter, there is no way of telling.
if there is anything you are not sure of, come back here as often as you need. It's an awful time, your mum needs you now more than ever before.
Hi Ross
Sorry I would have replied sooner but only just got a reply button.
I 'm sorry to hear your mother's condition has taken a turn for the worse. I'm not sure about Macmillan nurses but here is a link so give them a ring in the morning

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information ... html#21347
She may have longer than weeks. If they can stabilise the impact the brain tumours are having on her, she may have more time. I expect she will be put on steroids - called 'Dex' for Dexamethasone - as this will 'drain' the brain of the excess fluid that the tumours will probably be producing (they are very 'leaky'). If they can shift the fluid, it will not press on the brain and kill the brain cells. I would be surprised if the tumours themselves are very large - sometimes they are just 'specks' in the brain. Eventually, though, yes, they will continue to grow. (The Dex doesn't get rid of the tumours, just the liquid they ooze - the tumours will continue to grow, but possibly very slowly????)

Is she still on any anti-cancer medication? Doctors often take patients whose cancers have spread to the brain off the actual 'anti-cancer' drugs (ie, the drugs that are reducing the size of the tumours themselves.) This is because they have 'given up' on the patient (as brain cancers do tend to be 'the worst' place), but it is also because some of the cancer drugs do not make it into the brain. (The brain has something called 'The Blood Brain Barrier' which means that the blood vessels that provide the brain with oxygen and nutrients do not allow the anti-cancer drugs to pass into the brain - this is to 'protect' the brain in normal circumstances from potentiallky dangerous 'stuff' in the blood, but it of course when it comes to cancer this 'stuff' - ie, the antic cancer drug - is something we DO want to let in - but the body won't cooperate).

So it may be important to ask her doctors wehther they are still giving her the actual 'anti-cancer' drugs (eg, chemo) and if not, whether that is because her condition is (so they say) 'hopeless' or whether it's because they say the drugs won't get through the blood-brain barrier.

It goes without saying that if she is still on the anti-cancer drugs (whatever they might be) and IF they are working, then she may have more time.....

If she doesn't, then personally I would recommend looking up who your local hospice charity is. You mention Macmillan, but this is the time for Marie Curie, plus any other local hospice charities. Please phone Marie Curie (I would think the Macmillan nurses would tell you to do this anyway), and also simply look up who is your nearest hospice charity, and phone them.

My husband, who, like your mum, developed secondary brain cancer (ie, spread from elsewhere), was wonderfully looked after at home by our local hospice charity, to whom I am eternally grateful.

I wish you and your poor mother all the best that now can be....

H