The Nightmare Relation

I’ve been having a spot of bother with Nick’s carers.
Over the past week their time-keeping, carelessness and sheer lack of comprehension suddenly reached a crescendo of crapness.
I’ve been in a state of mild exasperation with them ever since Christmas, when they arrived on days we’d cancelled them and didn’t come when we hadn’t.  This week, though, was a new low.  
I made four complaints and two “you really wouldn’t want to be the person on the other end of the line” phone calls to management, as my dial turned rapidly from slightly exasperated all the way up to raging madwoman.

I have not mentioned the CQC yet but it is up my sleeve.

When I worked as a carer, you’d occasionally cross paths with the Nightmare Relation. The Nightmare Relation was usually a daughter or sibling who supervised your client’s care. They generally lived locally enough to visit their relative most days and survey the state of their care provision, and they were rarely happy with what they saw.
You might never actually meet this person but they would leave little notes reminding you to do this and do that and here’s the special brush to clean around the taps and please make sure Mother has a proper wash and don’t put sugar in her tea after 4pm and only use the blue towel and can you take every bit of skin off the tomato. On the days when my time with that client was precisely fifteen minutes, I’d look at these lists and give a hollow laugh.
Admittedly I would do my absolute best to make them comfortable and safe but when you barely have time to say hello, the fine-tuning can fall by the wayside and it’s easier to leave the notes for someone else to deal with.
Now that list-leaving relative is me.

It doesn’t help that I have done that job and know all about cutting corners – say you’re supposed to give someone their tablets in the morning then again at lunch four hours later, but that will mean doubling back and going right out of your way, so if you just go back a bit earlier while you’re still in the area you can save yourself a bit of time…
I never did that myself but saw it happen a lot. It’s been happening with Nick to the point that the other day he was given his morning medications at 9am and his “lunchtime” ones an hour and a half later!
I find this out through reading the notes. Nick seems to be helpless in the face of their insistence and this makes me even madder because it’s his house and they are walking into his private space and overriding his objections to something he doesn’t want them to do. I think this is very close to abuse.

They are supposed to ring the buzzer when they arrive, even though they let themselves in with the key from the keysafe, because this is good practice and as Nick is so deaf he will not hear them arriving otherwise.  But they continue to waltz in unannounced. They leave Nick’s front door open and unlocked with the main street door wedged open and the keysafe code visible for all and sundry to see.

Those little notices: I have different coloured marker pens and post-it notes in dazzling dayglo. I leave messages for the carers on a whiteboard next to the file they use for writing their records, and as advised by the care manager, keep a communications notebook to keep them up to speed with any changes to the daily routine. I may as well just not bother. None of it is working.
Food, as we know, is becoming a really serious issue for Nick and there is a laminated notice from their manager on the cover of the care plan, asking them to chop up the food they prepare in order to minimize any risk of choking. Ignored, as far as I can see when I come in early one morning and see that Nick’s breakfast seems to be two unpeeled bananas and two pieces of cinder dry crumbly toast that would have had him coughing dangerously.

Did you not say anything? I ask him about the latest annoyance. “I did” he says “but they don’t seem to understand”
Why can’t they just do their frigging job? Which means actually coming when they are supposed to, doing what they are asked to, and reading the care plan?

And this is the bottom line, you see. Nick is going to need an awful lot more support very soon. A specialised chair has been ordered which the carers will need to learn to operate and reposition. More time is being allocated for them to help him prepare and eat his meals. It will need good communication on all sides, but if they can’t read and digest a simple message from me or their manager, how are they going to do the more sophisticated things? 
How can they understand what Nick wants or needs if they just look at him blankly when he says please don’t do that. I really don’t hold out much hope for this lot, but we are stuck with them for the moment until Nick’s finances are finally assessed and the social worker gets back from holiday - again. 

I’m exhausted by it, and resentful because God knows, I have enough on my plate.
So when I walk in to the flat and the carers have just left after a "cleaning session" but Nick is sitting there with no socks on and last night’s chocolate wrappers and what looks like a jacket potato skin under his bare, grimy feet, the washing up has been done but the bin is overflowing and the kitchen surfaces are sticky with wine and cat hairs, I just lose it. I am angry with the carers for not caring and because I have enough to do without doing their job for them.