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Carers UK Forum • Why do agency staff... - Page 2
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We pay well over the

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:30 pm
by Scally
We pay well over the minimum wage for a 17 year old, and its a fun job - "accidents" are very unusual now. Usually they go swimming, cycling, etc, or to see a film in town, sometimes they even come back here to play videogames. Either way it gives us a break and provides some stimulation etc.

And we want a worker who is close to J's own age so he gets peer support and age-appropriate social education. J can be painfully shy and needs to be with kids his own age, not constantly with adults 1:1. NI and Tax etc doesnt apply at that age for such small earnings, but we put it through a local book-keeper so he gets a wageslip, to which he is legally entitled.

As for cover we just provide it ourselves if required, In Control is totally flexible that way.

I know I would not

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:44 pm
by Stacey
I know I would not want to employ a care worker myself. If I knew someone that was trained that would be a different situation, but I do not.

We've only had one care worker that I truly did not like - and that one only lasted about 6 weeks on the job. Thankfully.

Attitude does count though and mutual respect goes a long way, IMO.

I am trying to get

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:49 pm
by Guest
I am trying to get the agency changed, they know that we need two care workers morning and evening and they sent in one again, my husband started fell when he got out of bed, I think that he panicked, and if I had not been there he would have gone down, it was scary and I was giving instructions, trying to hold him at the same time and help the worker move him, once he was fairly safely on the bed I suggested we use a sheet as a slide sheet, it was not fair to any of us and I feel sorry for the carer. And he had to be left in bed, nothing was done, until the private physio I had asked to come in and another carer on a 15 minute call, I thought that she was waiting for a second to do the 45 minute call, changed his pad and we all changed the bed with him in it, I have no idea if and when anyone is going to arrive so I have washed the bits which I can get to. He has slumped down the bed, I cannot move him, he now has a chest infection which I have had the GP visit for despite me trying to keep him propped up in bed during the night, and I have managed to source a back support which should arrive soon but unless two carers turn up to move him it is useless. These agencies charge £18 per hour round here, I am not sure what for because whilst some are good some are rubbish and this one is rubbish.

Excalibur, in your first post

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:47 am
by NanaNana
Excalibur, in your first post you mention 'two weeks intensive training'. ....... Oh yeah??? In all the agencies we used to use over the years, who supposedly 'specialise in spinal injury', they have one day's introduction, then 2 1/2 days 'training', then the next day get given their assignments and off they go. Out into the wide world and people's homes. Barely three DAYS for such a specialised subject.
We've had people who can't peel a potato, who've never even SEEN a disabled person before, who can't cook a simple meal (unless it's from a packet from the freezer), who've never put a pair of socks on anybody else and it goes on and on and on. How the clients cope if they live on their own in these situations, I'll never know. At least I was around to 'sort things out'. We shall never use agencies again, the training is at fault and the people they recruit who are not wheedled out during the 'training' process, as to their suitability.
We employ our PAs on a self-employed basis, using DPs. Hand-picked by us (Gumtree or PA Pool are the usual websites we use, where vetting is in order before their CVs go up). As they are working as self-employed individuals, they are responsible for their own tax payments etc. We just write a cheque or pay direct into their accounts on-line. No hassle so far. Agencies are so desperate for staff, that they take everyone on and hardly ever dismiss their trainees for being unsuitable for the job and, of course, the trainees are desperate for a job, they will never speak up during training, if they don't understand anything. So, a lot of them come out of the training course, not understanding important things, because they are too scared to speak up and say ....... OR JUST DON'T CARE.

We had an agency PA

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:00 am
by NanaNana
We had an agency PA once who, on her first morning, told hubby that a red mark at the top of his legs was NORMAL (he said he felt a bit sore). How does she know what marks on hubby are normal after never meeting him before????? It was, in fact, red and sore, because he hadn't been washed in his leg creases the night before. Red marks, as they should have been taught during their 3-4 day training course, are first signs of pressures and sores and should not be left untreated or ignored. I told her, on discovering the marks that they were not normal and she should wash and dry his creases properly, only to be told that she'd seen these kind of marks before and that they were perfectly normal....... I'm sorry, have my years of caring all been a waste of time? Do my experiences count for nothing compared to someone who has had 'official training'????
Good luck to you, Annie. Don't put up with the crap they tell you or let you put up with. Speak up. If the district nurses don't provide you with a proper slide sheet, go to your GP, or buy them online. We've just got a new one (it was about £20 admittedly), it was so big, we cut it in half and now have a spare, can't do anything much without a slidesheet. Hospitals don't move patients without a slidesheet, so WHY SHOULD YOU? And in hospitals THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO NURSES TO MOVE PATIENTS. It sounds like you're filling in, because you're there at home, AND THE AGENCY KNOWS THAT THEIR WORKERS WON'T BE LEFT ON THEIR OWN. WHY SEND TWO WORKERS, WHEN THE WIFE'S THERE TO HELP, eh?????
Love and hugs, Fran

Rang the agency at about

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:57 am
by Guest
Rang the agency at about 9.10 am, I was told that they would call back in 10 minutes, I am still waiting for the call. Much later they sent in a single carer again, the DN who has a bad back assisted her. the carer rang the agency and asked if the person she was speaking to wanted to speak to me, it was the person I spoke to yesterday about the missed calls etc. she did not but I did, I have told her that if they cannot provide the care tell social services and let another agency provide it, we have had infinitely better agencies. I have rung social serviceds again and I am now waiting for whoever is my husband's new social worker to call back.

It is a bit of luck that I know what I am doing because the agency certainly does not and neither do many of the vast number of different carers, no doubt partly because the agency was supposed to put together the care plan with us yesterday and did not, I have written the morning call out in detail including how to undress and dress with a broken arm which some of the carers do not know Image . I also checked yesterday's care record, no mention of the fall, in fact no record that the visit had taken place, no mention of the physio assisting at the later call either. I would love to tell you the name of the agency but I had better not, misnomer does not even begin to describe it Image .

I hope you completed the

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:33 pm
by NanaNana
I hope you completed the care record yourself and signed it. When we used to use DNs, they told me that I could write stuff in their record book too, as long as I signed it. I did used to check every day as to what was written in their book. Sometimes, what was written, made light of important things, so you have to check the WAY the records are written too.
Has anyone called you back yet?

I called the agency in

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:14 pm
by Guest
I called the agency in the end, they sent someone else to do the assessment and it appears that we have something workable, a care pan even! I was asked what I thought of the service and said that it was appalling which it was, there were also two breaches of confidence, one relating to a neighbour and one to my husband. I am sure you will be glad to hear that I strongly made the point about listening to the client and carer and not making assumptions which are invariably wrong, we are now talking about an enablement package which is what we required in the first place but this time I did not need to labour the point, it was recognised as what is needed. The aim is to give us a small pool of carers who will know what is needed based on what both the agency and I explain to them and I will guide as the situation changes, doubled up with other carers who are available, I simply want one carer per visit who is sufficiently knowledgeable not to make mistakes and the other to be led by him/her.

I absolutely hate having to kick up a stink like this, it should not be necessary and my husband is extremely hard work at the best of times so having to fight like this just adds to the difficulty plus I have to constantly be on the alert for indirectly related complications due to comorbidities which is a hell of a responsibility without all this fighting. Hopefully things will run more smoothly and the risk to my husband and the carers, not to mention me because I am paying the price of having to double up, are over and things will run more smoothly. The physio and the DN saved the day and I feel more grateful than words can express for their willingness to change roles and work with the carers, there is a limit to what I can do and without their help I do not know how we would have coped.

Good news then? Glad you've

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:30 pm
by NanaNana
Good news then? Glad you've got a 'plan' sorted out, just make sure it's stuck to. Take care.

I have had to offer

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:08 pm
by Guest
I have had to offer to pay for the second carer, the personal care is already funded out of my husband's IB and there is more than sufficient to apy for this, in theory I ring social services commissioning team and they put the care in place according to what I tell them my husband needs, in practice they are talking about an assessment of his needs by a social worker, try telling them that this has taken place and the money is in the part of the IB account they hold and you realise that no-one actually knows what they are doing. Last night we had no carer at all until I rang at 10.00 pm and one was found. Since Friday night I have spent just short of £200 on getting meals brought in, buying additional bed protectors, etc. as I had run out of the last lot whcih I bought, the private physio who will another £50 today and taxis to collect the bed support and an urgent prescription, now it looks like I will be paying £18 an hour for care that has already been allowed for but I cannot get anyone to free up the money for.

George is absolutely right about AA and DLA for the over 65s, without this money I could not have begun to have found the £250 to date and now the extra care, I hope that someone shoots me when I reach 65, it has to be better than a lingering death through the incompetence and neglect of central government, local government and the society they represent.

Oh well back to the battle, I seem to spend what little time I have spare on the telephone trying to get this sorted out, I just hope that I do not lose my temper but perhaps that is what it needs reasonableness and a willingness to negotiate followed by polite anger has got me nowhere.