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Damage caused by agency carers - Carers UK Forum

Damage caused by agency carers

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I so rarely make it on here (2 parents in their 90s, both complex medical issues, only offspring and trying to stay in full time work...) I'm embarrassed to raise a relatively trivial question, but curious to know what people think.

Does anyone have any experience with damage caused by agency carers in the course of their work? As I said, it's not a big deal in the scheme of things, but we have two who are constantly in a rush (almost certainly double-booked), crashing about and despite my protestations have managed to get a 30 minute call down to 13 minutes or less.

Anyway, the other day one of these otherwise pleasant ladies slammed the hospital bed against the wall with such force that (not for the first time) the air mattress was disconnected and the control box crashed to the floor. Fortunately that survived - and fortunately I was around as, despite having done this before, they still don't know how to stop the alarm going off (err. .... plug it in again). When we went to plug it in, we found we could not though as the force of the impact had completely smashed the socket.

Now, I might be inclined to overlook this, but the only other socket within reach is used for charging the hoist, which really needs to be on charge all the time in case we need it. So now we are having to use that one for the air mattress, and really need the other one as well.

I don't see why mum should have to pay for having someone in to fix the broken socket, however the agency manager seems to feel that as it was "an accident" (as opposed to what - deliberate damage?!), the only people who might be considered liable would be the carers themselves, unless I am willing to foot the bill. This doesn't seem fair, and feels tantamount to blackmail, since docking it from their wages is likely to damage my mum's relationship with them.

Probably the practical solution is to claim it on the house insurance - but I would have thought the agency ought to have insurance covering accidental damage by their workers? I think I'm asking really because I fear something worse getting broken!


I would have thought the agency would have insurance too ...

Don't how to check this, hopefully others will have some suggestions.

We get this all the time and then its "Oh, it wasn't us" or "wasn't it like that before" - well no actually. We've got nowhere trying to be recompensed for all the damage that they have caused. Terrifies me the thought of these idiots being the ones to work with him if he gets a trachy! They probably wouldn't notice him turning blue or it would be was he not like that when we came in. And son wants them to be allowed to drive our extremely expensive Motability van? No chance we would not let them near it!

Thanks both.

Normally I wouldn't make a fuss but I'm feeling a bit worn down by it all ... we have some lovely carers but there are a couple who really take the biscuit. Actually we did once have someone who routinely scoffed whole packets of biscuits while at ours ... I don't mind, within reason, as long as they're worth it. But this pair don't seem to contribute much beyond the bare minimum before they're out the door again.

The agency manager is maintaining that I should pay for repairs; I'd check with their main franchise office about their insurance coverage, which I would have thought should be mandatory, but I know then he'll go to Social Services with a bit of "damage limitation" - some nice counter accusations. Unfortunately mum developed a mark on her temple the other week, which one of the carers photographed and reported it to the agency management. When I saw the photo, which had been taken while she was asleep and looked a lot worse than the actual mark, it looked like she'd been knocked out cold!!! Needless to say, I then got a call asking what I thought this mark could be, and I know that it will have gone on our record.

Both sides of the fence on this one again.
As a client user whose had plenty of cups smashed both by Dad and the carers , I've just put it down to "c'est la vie". Accidents happen and I'm not into the blame game culture myself.
As a carer, I've also smashed a client's glass while I knocked it in her washing up bowl. I was astounded at her reaction from a normaly placid client who was happy go lucky, she seemed most distraught and spent the rest of the week telling me how expensive it had been (it was just a glass!) to the point where I was personally going to buy a replacement, but I realised that the reaction was part of this elderly dementia focusing on trivia type reaction and decided it would just drag the whole thing up again.
I also knocked the knob off the top of a client's flask and he (in his late 90s) also reacted as though the world had come to an end. A week later a replacement flask had been purchased and he was happy as Larry again. I would add that both these clients were extremely rich (not just comfortably off!)
My advice would be to definitely leave teh carers out of it- they are only trying to do a difficult job, but on the issue of cutting half an hour down to 13 minutes, I have also experienced the same as a client user and would suggest taking that matter up with the office. Again it is not the carers fault but the admin staff setting the schedules.
With regard claiming insurance from the care agency, I would say it is up to you if you wish the hassle of pursueing this. I would expect them to be insured , but I would also expect them to avoid having to deal with it at all costs and believe me the office person on the end of the phone will have a masters degree in the art of fobbing off so you will need perseverenace.
Thanks Henrietta

I think I have a very laid back attitude, and certainly have never blamed carers for any broken crockery, etc ... I don't want them to have to worry about that sort of thing. I know they're under horrendous pressure from rota managers who have double-booked them (and at the same time they're willing to do this because taking on extra jobs is the only way to earn a living wage at it). So no, I would not expect carers to pay, and was astounded that their boss would.

My worry about this is that it's a bit more than a broken glass - getting someone in to fix this will cost quite a bit, plus a day's work lost for me. If mum had that sort of money we wouldn't be using this particular agency! No, I don't realistically expect the agency to willingly pay up .... I just wondered whether anyone had had a similar experience.

Oh, and the air mattress pump has been left knocked to the floor again on 3 nights this week. It keeps falling off because the hooks have been damaged by these 2 carers piling bedclothes and pillows on top of the pump despite me having repeatedly asked them to put the bedclothes elsewhere. Someone is coming out to service it next week, so hopefully we can make it more secure, although it's been fine for over a year - until they started doing this.

In my 12 years of experience with agency care assistants, none of the specialist agencies we used, claimed responsibility for any damages to their clients' property. In one case, the care assistant was driving my husband out of a supermarket car park, the wrong way down one of the aisles. A car (quite rightly) came round the corner and smashed into them head-on. Nobody was hurt, but our car had the front all smashed to pieces, which WE had to pay for (then hubby couldn't get out, as car was in the garage etc etc). The agency claimed no responsibility at all, saying that we had to claim on our insurance and the care assistant didn't have her own insurance against damages either. (maybe they should??????)
I've since learnt by the way, that yes, it DOES matter if you don't follow car park directional markings on the road.
I think the agency worker was extremely foolish to drive anyone elses car. I make sure my cars are insured for business use but my cover does not include anyone elses cars and I would never consider driving a client in their own car, certainly not without viewing their insurance policy to make sure it covered all drivers.
Surely the agency should not be allowing this? Do they know it is happening? If the car is insured to include all named drivers then yes I would say it should be claimed on the car's insurance.
Agencies do not pay car insurance for workers' own cars let alone their clients!