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too many carers - Carers UK Forum

too many carers

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Just wondered how other people find home care. My dad has Alzheimer's and can be very anxious, he hates having personal care done but is incontinent now. I can't manage myself any more so carers have to do it. The care company we've used for over two years is now sending 19 different carers each week (he needs 2 carers, four visits per day). I know how much happier and relaxed he is when he has more consistency but the care manager has told me I'm wrong and that it doesn't matter how many different people come as long as they all follow same checklist. (Even though a CPN explained to her at a meeting that change is difficult for dementia sufferers). Most of the carers are good but if they don't come regularly it's hard for them to get to know dad well enough to read him and know what approach to take. It's harder for them and for dad.
We now have full nhs funding so I don't have direct contract with the care company any more.
I'd be glad to have your views.
When my parents came to live with us, my mother was completely disabled, then got Alzheimer's.
We had carers come in mornings and evenings. We had the same two every day - except on their time off.

The carers worked for the local council. They got to know my mother very well. And she trusted them.

Just before my parents died - in May and June 1999, the service was changed to being run by a private company. The standard was not the same quality.

Near to where I live, are about 100 pre fabs. They are occupied by pensioners, and disabled people.
A warden lived on the same road, so was always to hand.

Then, the council in their wisdom Image sold the properties to a private company, who stopped the service. Now, in an emergency, the occupants have to phone the office, and someone comes out . . . from the next town.
I know how much happier and relaxed he is when he has more consistency but the care manager has told me I'm wrong and that it doesn't matter how many different people come as long as they all follow same checklist.
Since when has a care manager been a trained expert in the care of Alzheimer's patients ??? Even the consultants get it wrong sometimes and they've trained in geriatric medicine for years.

Anyone who looks after a person with any form of dementia will agree with you Lesley, that consistency is the key to keeping the patient happy and on an even keel. Even the simplest of things, like using a different cup to serve their coffee in, can have an adverse effect on their state of mind. So how can having large numbers of 'strangers' to take care of basic personal needs be in anyway helpful ? Perhaps this particular care manager should consider how they would feel if they were in your father's shoes ? Elderly, confused, all dignity gone - having to rely on a procession of strangers to attend to highly personal needs ? Your father is not an 'object' that has to be cleaned regularly - he is a human being and should be treated as such.

Sorry for getting on my high horse, but this kind of 'tick the box' attitude by so called professionals makes me so cross.
thanks for your replies, it really helps because I'm so tired of talking to this care manager and being treated like an awkward customer. It's good to know I'm not mad ! She treats dad as a problem, rather than thinking how she can make things better for him. Absolutely like a package not a person. I totally agree that the problem is when care companies are private and profit-making their priorities are all wrong. I'm getting my courage up for another confrontation tomorrow as I can't leave things like this. I'm going to ask for a meeting with the owner, he has ££££ signs in his eyes but at least he'll be worried about the company's reputation.

Thanks for your support xx
I can relate to this posting, my Dad doesn't suffer from any dementia but is severely disabled and needs outside care to tend to his personal needs ( I transfer him to a glide about for the loo but we both were against me washing his personal area's), we have two ladies that come in each morning to shower and dress him and unless they're on holiday or it's a weekend we have had the same two for 8 years now. Weekends however cause Mum distress not Dad because they are sending in young girls with no experience in older folks care, some barely look sixteen. I can understand and do try to explain to Mum that at least these girls are prepared to work, but she really objects to young girls tending to her husband. If these changes affect my dear two so badly I hate to think what it is doing to someone who has severe mental problems Image
I suppose rather than argue with the care manager about what dementia sufferers need you could just say fewer carers, more consistency is what your Dad needs. He/She can't really argue with that.
Thanks for your post. I'm afraid she does argue with that !! Even though I've witnessed thousands of calls by now she just says I'm wrong. I think it's a case of it being too much trouble to get it right. I've asked for a meeting with the company owner to see if I can get anywhere with him. I feel sorry for the carers, it's a hard enough job without being put in such a position. I don't want to change providers because dad would then have all new people to deal with and lose those he does trust.
I'm sure it's a very common problem.
Hi Lesley

Apologies if I'm a little blunt, but it may be better to go for a completely new service where there is consistency of approach and there are fewer staff in the team.

At least, that's what I'd be saying to the owner. Image

The government published a dementia strategy in 2009 that strongly pushes the concept of specialist dementia services for home care, and stresses:
the importance of continuity, reliability and flexibility of home care services, in ensuring that people with dementia and their carers have choice and control over the services they receive.
http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/gro ... 094051.pdf

Continuity is vital. That means a smaller team, focused on your father's needs. If you have a social worker, or the service was commissioned by social services, have a word with them and make a complaint, if that's what it takes.
wow! im not alone!!! my mom recently diagnosed with mixed dementia and im her carer but i live 40 miles away. so i go and stay for a couple of weeks and then have 4/5 days off. she now has carers an hour a day split between am and pm just for medication and prompting food and showering. over the last 3 weeks we have met at least a dozen diff ladies, all lovely but mom says she dont know them and im sure she be better if we had some concistency. our carers are from the council at the moment but in 4wks we have to change to a private agency Image my dad has carers every day where he lives and gets same man every day except days off. so it can be done!! reading all your comments has been a help, just to know other ppl have same problem! thanks. x
hi chrissy,
I think there are lots of us having this problem! It may not be worse when you change to a private company. Will you get Direct Payments for your mum's care? It's a good option because you then have a direct contract with the care providers and so you can choose/change them. I'd say ask a lot of questions at the beginning about consistency of carers. The company dad has were full of assurances at first but in practice it's very different. If you make clear what you expect from the start it's easier to pull them up on it. I've learned not to be too 'nice' I'm afraid . I wish you luck xx