Coping with Good and Bad Carers

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Mum has been home four weeks now and in general the care agency has been brilliant.

But as is a general rule in life, you always get a few bad eggs. Already I've noticed that when one name is one the rota, I warn Mum that the call will be late. When she finally turns up stinking off smoke its always over and done with as quickly as possible compared to the 30 minutes Mum is paying for.

A week ago the carer she was paired up with asked if she'd been drinking, she nodded.

I'd like to think I get on with most people and I'm already friendly with most of our carers, but it amazes me no-one has complained about this Woman. As we have double up calls her co-workers are often left sat in their car for 15-20 minutes.
Just tell the Care Agency that you no longer want this particular carer.

We had one that neither my wife or I particularly liked on a personal basis right from the first time we met her, and when she wouldn't carry out procedures as she had been asked to do we just asked them not to send her any more.
"Co workers are often in their cars for 20 minutes" ???

Go and get them and give them jobs to do while they are waiting for the other one to turn up.

You are paying for their services and have a right to their time!!!!
Definitely contact the agency and say how great the other care workers have been but how you no longer wish to have the tardy one. You won't be the first to have said this, I'm sure. When S had care visits; I had to request this on two occasions - one chap was always on time, but had no rapport with S what so ever and he was getting anxious; the other was nice enough with him, but had dreadful time keeping and was being late for work as a result.

Melly1
A problem with doubled up care in my experience is that the carers do not always travel and work together as a team, paired throughout the day. They have different assignments and often get around by bus or on foot. Hence one has to wait for the other to show up. The agency may stipulate that neither carer alone may perform any caring - they must wait for the second carer to arrive. Some agencies do have carers with cars who do travel together during the day. When we had carers it was not uncommon for the first one to arrive and do the work and then the other carer arrive just in time to sign the care plan and leave having spent 5-10 minutes in the house! That's not right but it was the reality.

You'd do well to keep track of the actual length of time they spend caring for your mother and also how long they record in the care plan records. Are they doing all they are supposed to do? I would hope by now the agency has prepared a written assessment and plan for your mother's care?

You need to see if the carers are, on average, spending the expected amount of time whilst doing what you've signed up for. I'd be concerned if I had reason to believe a professional carer was under the influence whilst on duty!
I'm told, like Rosemary stated, that the Carers aren't allowed to start until both arrive as its a double call and they can't work alone.

It makes me laugh that a few of the carers come on foot and stand outside the front door waiting for the other to arrive by car, I just want to open the door and invite them in, even if just for a chit chat and a cup of tea!

This is Mums third Carers agency and by far the best I've experienced, but of course they never stay for the full 30 minutes and always exaggerate the times in the log book. But if anyone can name a care agency where this doesn't happen I'd be amazed.

Thanks to all who gave advice about the "Bad Egg".....I'm not a confrontational person, but will see how things go and at least I know my options now.
(I'll try not to repeat my post this time!). I've thought for a long time that agency carers feel they're 'caught between a rock and a hard place' when it comes to their timekeeping records. Generally, i believe, they are contracted and paid by the hour for the time spent doing the actual care, not per day and not for travel time. If they miss the bus or otherwise delayed, or have to wait for their colleague to arrive, they get behind schedule. If they rush the care to catch up or it just doesn't take the full time allotted, I think the carer is tempted to write in the careplan that they've spent the full 30 minutes, for example, so it is consistent with the times per their work schedule and on their weekly timecard so they can get their pay!

What they don't always seem to realise is the importance of the careplan documentation as a legal document of care and the need to keep accurate care records.

Then of course from the caree's prospective, they want to be given the appropriate care and not to be charged for services and visit time they haven't received. Another complication of living in Carerland! I never did see the contract between Mum and the LA, let alone the one between the LA and the care agency!!!

As your mother is completely self funding Stephen, have you seen the written contract and careplan this time around??
Surely a "double call" is for aspects of the care like hoisting. Lots of other things don't involve hoisting??
I respect how difficult a job it is working in front line care, I've known 100's of them down the years ,I have on countless occasions stood up for front line staff because of the disgusting way they are treated by the employers (and sometimes, clients)... but that does not excuse that increasingly I find that more and more, many of them coming through presently are either poor attitude or training (or combination of both) and the blame for this rests with the agency/employer, if someone is a jerk and hides it thats one thing nobody can really know till it happens, but everything else its the employer responsibility.

The "good" ones get ran down until their health fails or they simply get offered a better position by a company that actually shows its employees the respect/acknowledgement for a job well done they deserve and you are left with the ones that only have the job because they show up/put up with the hours or just have not been caught/pulled up yet.

Local authority care is much of "big fish little fish" where the main providers are the big fish who have the tendered contracts to provide in various catchment areas. The councils under-pay the smaller agencies who in turn often go out of business altogether and get absorbed (clients and staff) by the big fish in the pond, presenting a significant lack of choice.. which goes against the entire point of direct payments and health budgets etc in the first place because in some areas there is no real choice.

DBS system needs an overhaul as well... these checks are important and must be done but the process is very, very slow and it often hampers the employers ability to replace staff in a sector where turnover is simply obscene.

I see very few people actually "retire" from this sector of late, often they will end up slowing down or stopping because of medical/health problems related to the role. Its seen more as a stepping stone position than something a younger person would purposely do long term.

Just putting this out there.
My mother and I were advised she needed doubled up care for each visit and throughout entire visit for all repositioning, transfers, even rolling over in bed, as much for the carers' health and safety as mum's! Mum was not a large lady btw.

Even though I regularly got her onto the commode, used slide sheets and emptied catheter bags. It was what the hospital and LA OT ordered even though mum was stronger than they thought and able to assist. That's health and safety for you, even though we had to pay 100%.

In fact, the agency did start sending just the one carer who did the job seemingly perfectly well BUT CONTINUED BILLING THE COUNCIL AND HENCE MUM FOR TWO CARERS!!! That was until I investigated after Mum received her first invoice, and through safeguarding case I managed to claw back some £1300 overcharged over a couple of months!

Mum did get reassessed by the OT who allowed her to have a single carer but the LA is very good at spending other people's money!

I understand my LA can agree to a 30 minute call in which a second carer shows up for 15 minutes to do the hoisting but that was never offered and can you imagine the logistics of that?!

When the hospital wants their bed back, I think they are so eager that they dictate doubled up care just to get the patient out of the hospital. After all, the hospital isn't concerned about spending other people's money either. Yes, BB, you did get me started!