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direct payments - Carers UK Forum

direct payments

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Person I am friends with/ partially care for (unpaid carer) has an agency providing staff at the moment getting him up every morning wash dress etc, the agency have over 100 staff and a high turnover so often has brand new staff.
He is spending increasing amounts of time effectively training the new staff his particular care needs, often the new staff are simply untrained never seen/operated a hoist before.
The carers are often late, short of staff, rushed, just don't have time to do the things that he needs doing.
Increasing left to me as friend/ unpaid carer etc to step in, i am spending more and more time helping out e.g the carers forget to put the washing on or get it out, or forget to put the rubbish out so left with a stinky bin for a week.
He wants to do direct payments employ his own staff then he will be more in control.
He has explained to Social Services that he wants more time and direct payments, but the Social Services say he has enough time/too much if anything and could give him direct payments but less time.
His disabilitys are getting worse and care needs are getting more in my opinion but but because of the credit crunch Social Services are cutting hours not increasing hours.
Doesn't seem fair in my opinion and increasing the stress on me the unpaid carer/friend, he's a nice old chap and just doesn't deserve all this.
What are his rights in this and indeed my rights as an unpaid carer increasing taking on more responsabilitys which the paid carers should do?
Hi Londonbound,

I am sure it is a health and safety risk for staff to be untrained in using a hoist etc The agency should be providing new staff with certain training and it should only be up to your friend to train then in "his ways" and how he prefers things done. I think you would be wise to ring the helpline for advice and hopefully others will come along with more experience of your friend's situation.

Sorry I did not mean to mislead, the new staff come along and say that they have not used a hoist before, not had the training YET. So he cannot have a bath.
There are qualified staff been working in caring 20 or 30 years fully experienced, but also staff who have literally been working 2 days, never having cared/been a carer before.
But yes thats right he needs to train them in his ways and how he prefers things to be done, but it does take time, I know his house, know where all the medication is kept, know how he likes his cup of tea etc.
i suppose that in a way, Social Services are aware that you step in as an unpaid carer, so in fact they don't have to worry to much about cutting hours, unskilled carers coming in etc. they know you will pick up the flack and do all the things that have to be done.

its a no win situation really. if your available, they do not worry. if you were to step back and not be there for your friend then perhaps, just perhaps they would sort the carers out, but there might be an interim period when your friend suffered through lack of care. very difficult.

one thing does come to mind. have you had a carers assessment. if you did, you could state just what and when you were prepared to do and then the professional care could be fitted around you. its such a shame because i am sure you would rather be a just a friend and not so much a carer. we all need our friends, just as much important as carers.

personally, i think the direct payments would be the way to go as your friend could employ who he wanted to pay to do the caring. there is plenty of help out there re the organisation and paper work. it could work out cheaper for S.S. as no high agency fees to cover, just the hourly cost of the carer, plus a small amount to cover paperwork. so in theory more money for care hours.
good luck.
If there is a hoist there must be two people to operate it due to the health and safety rules - that is why Direct Payments were no use for us. There wasn't enough money in the pot to cover the cost of two workers. So to go for DP's we would have had all of the hassle for less hours than we recieve at the moment so whats the point of DP's?

Also at the carers assessment we were told that if we were not prepared to do the caring then our 26 year old son would be placed in an old person's home (this has been done to three of his friends so its no idle threat). They have us over a barrel and they know it. 2 of his friends are brothers and their parents said they simply couldn't cope anymore, the boys were made homeless and the social work put them into an old folk's home (they are younger than my son).

Help is not always available especially when there are complex needs.

I am not for a minute suggesting you are quoting incorrectly but the claim that health and saftey rules mean you need to carers is untrue for a fixed or tracked hoist it is just a money making scam enabling agencies to claim for two workers.

What should be done is that a formal risk assesment is carried out which should include a logical argument to support the need for two care workers. The reality is as we know us the unpaid carers are left to operate such hoists unaided.

Might make an intresting future court case on the basis of the council neglecting its duty of care by putting carers in a position where they have to use the equipment incorrectly.
Hi Tony. I had a similar conversation recently with a social worker, who went back to the OT to demand training for the carer they are working with.
Hi Pamr
Social Services don't know I exist, but they are cutting services, they used to do a shopping service, but now they are supposed to rely on relatives/friends/neighbours. So I have ended up doing his shopping.
It is a very difficult situation, I am also looking after my wife full time, so do not have much time.
If I did step back and not help I think his home situation and health would suffer and he may end up in hospital or care.
He was in hospital a while a go, there should have been a discharge assessment, and a bit more help, he got nothing, again it was left to me.
I have tried to access a care assessment but such a complex situation trying to explain it all, all the things i have to do as the professional carers can't won't or don't have time, and all the issues looking after my wife full time as well.
Another person I know is on on direct payments, he has wonderful carers, every need is accounted for, but his care package was sorted out years ago. The independent living fund pays for some of the care but I understand they have run out of money for new cases?
It's just the lesser time for direct payments, is there any way we can fight this, 2 hours a day certainly isn't enough, who sets up the times?
Direct payments as you say would be cheaper for Social Services, but my friend would have to do all the hiring and firing and would need help with the paper work again me??
Regarding the hoist, in my area the disabled people i know who have hoists have only one member of staff to operate the hoist, to have 2 staff would cost a lot more for Social Services.
hi there,
yes firstly you are right the Independent Living Fund is funding no new people now and there is evan talk of closing it for people already receiving it in about 4 years. so i am afraid thats no good for your friend.

as for Direct Payments. Your friends council should have a direct payments co-ordination dept. i would give the council a ring to see if you could find out. the s.s. i think would be involved too and would have to do an assessment on your friend. they should also give him a bit of extra money in order for somebody to do the paperwork for him. his local council direct payments dept. may already have organised to do this for people. My local Carers Support office do my daughter's paperwork. its no good if DP just gives a carer extra paper work to do. so please don't take that on. its very difficult to give you definate guide lines as i think every council have their own way of doing these things, but as far as i understand they have to offer people direct payments to employ their own staff if they wish, and in my opinion its a far better way to go for everybody.

Perhaps Charles in his great wisdom may be able to advise you further on how your friend needs to go about claiming direct payments for his care. or there is always the Carers Uk help line of course.

good luck. pam
Pamr as I pointed out it is not always a better way to go for everybody when it isn't funded enough and when someone has complex care needs. Its just a way for social work departments to abrogate their responsibilities and to do care on the cheap. It might work if you don't have complex care needs. We asked our social worker for independent living for our son in February and despite repeated emails our social worker seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth! Could the fact our son needs 24/7 care have anything to do with it or am I being cynical?