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Carers not turning up - Carers UK Forum

Carers not turning up

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Twice this week the council funded carers haven’t turned up to support my father. He’s particularly vulnerable at the moment- has just been in hospital for six weeks and fell on Thursday (lay on the floor for hours as the Telecare alarm didn’t work: apparently a glitch caused by the change over to digital??)).

I’ve had to stay off work to help him and the care agency didn’t even notify us or return my calls. The council said the agency claim they did call (untrue- even the duty social worker couldn’t get them to phone her back). I work full time and it’s becoming impossible. The council said that in future the care agency will email me if they can’t cover the slots. That’s ridiculous- I need to go to work (to pay my rent) and surely if the care agency don’t send anyone it’s for the council to deal with? I’d be really grateful for your advice on what to do- am really worried I am going to loose my job if I keep having to take time off-surelybits a safeguarding issue and the council need to sort it out? Not leave it to me?
You'll receive much better advice soon, but in the mean time.

The most important thing at this moment is not to fall into the trap I did and lose your job, only to become a cheap full time carer for your loved one and save your Council thousands of pounds.

Make it completely clear to the care agency that you are unavailable during works hours and THEY are responsible for Dad, if anything happens THEY will be held accountable. By thinking you are willing to back up it gives them an excuse to bypass the visit.

Most care workers receive minimum pay and are expected to do more visits than is possible in the timescale so any excuse to miss a visit...
So sorry to here your situation and the worry and frustration it causes.

I would agree that the council and agency need to know that you are NOT available to cover the carers shifts and that they have a duty of care to ensure the visits are made and you hold them responsible between those hours.

I agree with the above post, please don't be placed in a position where you end up with the care role full time unless that is what you want to do. I personally am a much better carer because I do it part time, when caring full time I lost myself.

Often the more you give freely the more is expected and taken advantage of. I'm still learning that one!

Good luck
To my mind, having had la organised carers for mum, it is really a mute point whether the care agency have notified you or not regarding their missing a care visit. A red herring!!!

The la needs to ensure the agency they contract with delivers on the contract. Your caree needs the care the la have agreed to supply. You shouldn't be expected to stand in, and please don't lose your job over this.

I'd consider initiating a safeguarding case, or at the very least ask the local authority to change provider to one that can supply the care that is needed.

Simply calling to say they can't come is inappropriate. If anything should happen after they've called and effectively put the onus on you (implied), could have safeguarding wrongly accuse you!!!! That almost happened to me.

I'd email the la so you have a record of your request/ complaint. You may want to put in an official compliant to the complaint handling services for the la/county and the cqc. Raising a safeguarding query with the la should do it.
Yes, I would put it in writing to your dad's GP and the SS and anyone else 'official', including the care agency manager, that as you work full time you are NOT AVAILBLE to do ANY care for your dad at all.

His care MUST be provided by professional care workers, and you are NOT involved in seeing that it is supplied adequately.

Moreover, you will hold them responsible for any injury or 'lack of care' your dad suffers as a result of THEIR short staffing.

It is NOT your problem, and remind them that you have NO legal duty of care towards your father. It is THEIR responsibility to have him well cared for.

If they can't do that in his own home, then residential care may be their only option. Now, IF your dad doesn't have enough money to self-fund residential care (does he own his own home?), residential care will cost the council a LOT more than providing care-workers to call in and look after him.

And yes, definitely use the safeguarding word - and copy everything to the most senior manager at the agency and the SS - and I would also cc it to your dad's solicitor too!

The council/agency are clearly hoping that YOU will 'step in and fill the breach'. Don't do it!
the main reason agencies are used and their fees are put up with is for the convenience and knowing it is THEIR problem if a care worker cannot cover a shift - THEY have to cover the call. they need to have in place the staffing levels and structure to cover staff absence/ sickness and emergencies. They are failing in their duty of care if they don't. Emailing/ phoning etc to say they can't cover a call is not an option. The reason your Dad has care workers is because you are unavailable at that time.

If the agency cannot cover ALL the calls they are contracted to cover, then the contract should be passed to another agency as they should never have agreed to take it on.

Do you have a weekly roster of who is due and when? S has agency workers in the morning to cover him between me leaving for work and his bus coming. Sometimes I have to chase up the rota, though the new manager seems more organised than the last one. We had to state one care worker wasn't suitable and one was repeatedly late and unreliable. Despite numerous informal complaints, the situation with her didn't improve and in the end I made a formal complaint and she was removed from his roster.

It is very stressful juggling work and caring especially when the care support is failing. Make a formal complaint, request weekly rotas and tell the social worker if the agency fails in its duty of care again you'd like a different and more reliable agency to cover the care.

I agree, you shouldn't be forced to give up work to care full time - this is an argument I have had to have with social sevices several times.

Thank you for all your helpful responses. I’ve responded to the council as you’ve advised - making it clear that I can’t help as I’ve got to work and it’s ansafeguarding issue that they need to resolve. Unfortunately I just don’t think they care. Dad’s social worker is off sick and we have been passed to three different social workers in her absence. I’m now copying in the social work service manager (whoever they are!!- I have no clue about the structure) in case they can help/ for consistency/responsibility.

Since Dad was discharged after 6 weeks in hospital we’ve had nothing but bother with the care plan and patient transport. It’s utterly exhausting. Even though he has fallen during this time and I’ve flagged it as a safeguarding issue nothing has been done by either the hospital (about late transport meaning he has missed vital treatment) and or social services (carers not turning up / equipment not being provided). I’ve raises formal complaints with both organisations but I genuinely think they just don’t care - they have months to respond in which time my dad’s health is deteriorating/issues like his fall happen /I’m in trouble at work for spending so long on it but nothing gets resolved. They simply apologise for poor service and that’s it. Sorry rant over- it’s kust so frustrating that you try to do the right thing but find obstacles/no one willing to help at any stage.
May I ask if your dad owns his own home? If not, you may have a bit of lever to get better quality care for your dad. If he doesn't own his own home, and if the care-in-the-home is inadequate (or absent), then you could use the 'safeguarding' word to insist that he is taken into residential care.

If he is not a home owner, then the council have to pay, and it costs them a whole lot more than 'care in the community'....that may incentivise them to get off their backsides and sort out his daily carers.....

If he does own his own home, alas, then you don't have that lever. In fact, they may be hoping that you will 'give in' and he goes into a care home self-funding, and then they can save themselves the cost of the visiting carers.....

(PS - doesn't matter if your dad doesn't want to go into a care home, it's only to 'threaten' the council with it!)
Email the Director of Social Services, copied to the Chair of the Adult Services Committee, and the County Complaints Officer.

Use words like "duty of care" and "negligent".

A care agency has told me several times that they can't support my son, at very short notice. I jump up and down, and lo and behold, they find someone.

Tell Social Services that unless they sort this out, residential care is the only option left, because, in reality, it is. The agreed care package is not being delivered, and he can't stay home unless it is.

You cannot give up work to care for him. He's nearing the end of his life, you have many years to go, and you NEED that job!
Thank you for all your advice. Carers didn’t turn up again this morning so I’ve had to take the day as leave (Dad has been very ill and needs to go to dialysis). I’ve emailed the director of social services as you said and raised a formal complaint (they have ages to respond to it!!- my work won’t wait that long!). I’ve told them that I won’t do this again tomorrow and it’s their responsibility to provide care. I don’t think they will do anything (they haven’t even been out since he fell- which in part was because they haven’t provided him with the promised hospital bed and physio). His social worker is still off sick and her manager just doesn’t respond. I really feel that they are just wiping their hands - happy for him to be a statistic/ someone they can claims slipped through the net because of cuts. It’s so depressing. Dad doesn’t have enough money to go into /not does he want residential care (have suggested it to them as you propose). I don’t think they will do anything - he was on the floor injured for seven hours and nothing was done. A safeguarding report submitted two weeks ago but no action taken!