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Wanted - your views on paid care workers - Carers UK Forum

Wanted - your views on paid care workers

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Dear all,

I'm writing an article for a new magazine called Care Talk, which will be published monthly by the people behind the Great British Care Awards. It's aimed at care workers, to highlight the good things they do and give them practical help and advice so they can learn and improve.
The article will look at common perceptions of the care sector and the people who work in services like respite and home care, and whether these are accurate or fair. I'd be really interested to hear your views, especially if these have changed over time.

For instance, how do your experiences compare with how paid care staff are portrayed in newspapers and magazines and on TV and in films? Do you think they get a fair press? Do you have any particular worries about how your caree might be treated by care workers and have these ever been justified? What do you think makes a really good care worker - and how often have you come across people you feel do a top quality job?

I look forward to hearing from you and would like to use quotes and comments in the article, anonymously if you wish.
Thanks, Vicky Burman, Care Talk magazine
How about doing something to highlight the plight of genuine carers instead of care workers who after all choose to do it and are paid for it. Most of them in our experience are worse than useless - especially those working for care agencies. Instead of being a help they are one of the biggest causes of the stress our family are under. The agencies hire people straight off the streets and send them in here and we have to train them. My son is hiughly vulnerable (has DMD, had a spinal fusion, on heart medication and uses a ventilator) and these so called care workers can be extremely dangerous. We cannot leave them alone with him. He can have nine or ten different people in one week and then a different lot of nine the next week. If you dare to pull them up for doing something wrong they then go and tell lies about you to their bosses - they have put us through hell over the years.

I'm sure there must be some excellent people who work in the care sector.
I'm sure too there must be some who are well trained, competent and reliable, in all fields of disability.
Worries about caree?
Dropped on the floor, dangled on the stand assist, allowed to hit his head on the wall, incorrectly seated in his chair so he slides out onto the floor while they are talking etc. etc. etc.
And that was the manager who came as we had been 'messed about' (her words) so much.

So when you find some, can I have them? Please.
When we had care workers to help Mum after her discharge from hospital the main problem we encountered was lack of continuity - different care worker each day, never arrived at the same time (anything between 0730 and mid-day was the norm !) and some didn't even know why they were visiting ! From comments made elsewhere on the forum I think these are common problems.

Having said that generally they were helpful and kind - one or two were exceptional and did things they hadn't been asked to do like empty the commode or make her bed.
There are some serious problems with private domiciliary care agencies: they get the contract based on a bit of hype and the cheapest price, the managers are unqualified or failed social workers, they hire untrained and unsuitable people and use complaints as the main form of vetting from users, they don't provide decent training or screen adequately. Where do we start?
Our experience of domiciliary care has been mostly positive, our one experience of respite care was entirely positive and my husband will be returning to the home for respite stays.

The problems we have had with domiciliary care have mainly been attributable to poor management, for example different care workers who need training only to be replaced by another new worker once trained as others have identified, although I have on a couple of occasions asked for carers to be replaced as they have made repeat mistakes which have put my husband at risk. We have recently moved and now have one named, experienced carer for all visits unless she is sick or on holiday which works extremely well.

I think that it is all too easy to blame the care workers and there are undoubtedly some who should not be in the job but often it is poor recruitment, lack of training and bad time-tabling which is the responsibility of management which is at fault, the care workers find it as frustrating as we do.
My son has a team of care workers who, mainly, are very good and committed. They each have their weaknesses, being human, but no major issues.

One or two either have a further training need or will never "get it". They are the ones who use 30 words where 10 are needed for Mike to be able to understand, and 5 when he's stressed. And probably 1 or 2 when he's REALLY stressed.
AFAIK a long time ago on this forum I mentioned the irony of my mum being a careworker (employed by an agency) and still not getting what it's like to be a carer. Basically treating me as if I've become a 1950s housewife

Recently she did a week's work, live-in while the carer went on respite. Bear in mind that what with being trained how to do lifting, empty urine bags etc mum thought the week'd be no more difficult than her usual sitting for a couple of hours or popping in for half an hour at most, then doing another call to somebody else.

After finishing the week and getting home, she was unusually quiet on the phone. I think she's starting to understand the difference between being "on call"all the time and being able to finish work for the day. Image Bless her, it's only taken a decade and a bit.
Thank you all for your comments, although I'm sorry to hear that a number of you have had bad experiences with individual care workers and the people who employ them. One of the main aims of this new magazine is to help care workers do their jobs better.

There are plans to run articles about the role carers play and to interview carers for future issues of the magazine. The publishers organise the Great British Care Awards, including an award for unpaid carers, so we will be gathering stories from carers during the nomination and judging process.
The ones I recruit and pay myself are much better than agency staff: thats a big advantage of direct payments. Here's Lewis helping my son to learn cross country ski-ing:


And here are the boys heading off sledging...