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Posts tagged ‘cleaning’

How (not) to chose a carer – Part 1

Finding the right carer can be like crossing a minefield

I have needed carers to help me for over 10 years now and these are some of the things I’ve learnt.

If you chose to use an Agency you will be able to meet with a number of different companies to see which one is able to best meet your needs.

However, if your care is organised by Social Workers, you or you family will have little choice as to which Agency provides your care needs as this is decided for you by your LA (Local Authority). But most importantly, you do still have a choice over who comes into your home.

If you find a carer disrespectful or rude or they do not understand your needs or provide poor care, you have a right to refuse to have that carer back again.

Because care work is so poorly paid a high percentage of agency carers are from outside the UK. My experience is that many do not either speak or understand sufficient English to be able to meet my needs. And if I’m struggling to work with them, heaven help anyone who is deaf or has impaired vision or speech!

I have spent almost all of my working life employing Nurses and carers from ethnically diverse backgrounds – so I’m well used to making sure care staff can be easily understood by their colleagues and the residents they care for. Also I often had a good number of applicants for each job. However Agencies today are usually so pressured to provide a service that they take on staff whose English is not as good as it should be.

Carers are in our homes for a short fixed time only and they always seem to be rushing to get to their next client. An Agency I used recently sent me a carer who was good – but every time she got delayed at a previous client’s house she missed my visit – leaving me with no breakfast and unable to take the pills I need to have with food. My pain levels increased dramatically, impacting on the rest of my day. After 3 mornings of this – I had no alternative but to ask the agency not to send me that carer again and made the decision to go back to directly employing someone.

The example I’ve just used is fairly extreme, but often it’s been really simple things that carers have struggled with – not burning food – making sure food is cooked properly & served on a hot plate or bowl. Making sure I have the right cutlery. Washing up is a very basic task, but yet I’ve often found that I’ve need to check that dishes and cutlery are washed properly.

I’ve had carers who have refused to do any domestic work, ie cleaning or hoovering, even if that has been part of the work they are contracted to do. I’ve had a carer pull a Dyson so roughly that she has broken the hose – and then denied she had done so – the agency refused to take responsibility for the damage, and whilst I was still arguing with their insurers – the agency lost the contact with the borough I lived in and went bust – so I ended up very out of pocket.

For a time one London Borough where I lived paid a company to undertake shopping at Tesco’s for clients. For the 3 months I used them I don’t think I ever got the right order! One day when my flat front door and step were being painted the delivery guy walked onto the step and left a large black boot print on my carpet and slammed my front door so hard he made a hole in the wall of my hall! As soon as I realised I called the agency & the Council – the agency were less than helpful and I only got a very small settlement.

There are good agency carers, but I no know it can take time for me to find the carer who can best meet my needs. I have used 6 or 7 agencies so far and only one sent me a great carer from the outset, with others I went though at between 5 or 8 people to get someone who was able to care for me properly.

This is the first of two blog posts on this topic.

Part 2 will follow shortly.

Wanted: Kitchen Fairy

I really don’t like doing housework! Even when I was able bodied I employed someone to clean for me. This was for two reasons, when working long days and often juggling two jobs, I just didn’t have the time or energy, and I was happy to employ another woman who was usually in need of earning the cash cash.

Now even if I wanted too, cleaning hoovering and dusting is just impossible for me either in terms of pain levels, energy and shortness of breath. My cleaner only comes weekly, and sometimes she misses a week, if floors are not cleaned or surfaces dusted, I often don’t notice. When I’m not wearing my contact lenses I can’t see well enough to notice either! Most of my visitors know me well enough not to comment if they spot something amiss.

The only person who does remark on things is my cousin Polly, who at 76 threatens to clean for me if I lived nearer her! Knowing full well that there is no way I would let her! I’ve only just persuaded Polly to stop cleaning for a 93 year old whose clutter was just proving too much to cope with.

The worst household task for me after cooking, is washing up. I have a great little tabletop dishwasher, which is a great boon, but it still needs emptying and stacking. As I don’t generate enough washing up to use it daily, I land up with a pile of dishes waiting to washed. Dealing with them, as well as cleaning the kitchen surfaces and the trays I use (my flat is too small for a dining table) is a task I always put off until I run out of cutlery or plates.

I would rather be writing this blog, answering emails, going genealogy research, catching up up TV, almost anything than having to sort out the kitchen!

As I write this there is a pile of dishes in soak ready for me to deal with.

When I had a carer who also did housework this was no problem, she did washing up whenever she came in. Great, no problems. But my current carer only does care and I can’t get my new cleaner to come in twice a week and some weeks she doesn’t come at all so I’m back to sorting out my own washing up.

It’s not really the time issue, but the pain factor that gets me. My kitchen is not adapted in any way, other than having lever taps. So I either have to stand, a sure way of getting breakthrough pain, or perch on a stool, meaning stretching and shoulder pain. As well as hoping my grip works and I don’t drop anything.

I know what the pain will be, I know I’ll get breathless, I know I’ll be exhausted at the end of doing it and land up lying down in a heap. Hence the procrastination.

But, in the absence of a fairy, even a good elf would do, until someone invents a kitchen robot or droid, I just have to do it myself.

No more excuses, the kitchen awaits!

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