Recent bad press about care in the community has included stories about home carers turning up late, or not at all, not having time to talk, getting people out of bed mid-morning and putting them back there in the afternoon.
It’s a very demanding job but for every ‘bad’ carer there are many more good carers who are dedicated, professional, do a sterling job and deserve a pat on the back.
Their job is so much more than just turning up and making a cup of tea. They help with a huge number of tasks such as washing, dressing, cleaning, using the toilet, and, above all, helping clients retain their independence in their own home.
Carers provide a lifeline to many eldery people who depend on people like Agnes Hinrainer
Agnes works on behalf of Milton Keynes Council which offers a Home Care service to people who have been assessed as having a need for additional personal care.
Such support is available to those who wish to continue to maintain their independence for as long as possible in their own home.
Home carers are allocated geographical “patches” which help to ensure there is a friendly face from a team who will visit regularly. Each client has a detailed care plan which is referred to on each visit.
Many of those who receive the Home Care service are also linked to Community Alarm and every effort is made for the two services to work together especially out of hours.
As usual it’s an early start for Agnes, but there’s not such thing as a typical day...
> 7am: The first call is to see Jean, an elderly lady who lives alone in Great Linford. Agnes will help Jean get out of bed, shower and get dressed.
Breakfast will be prepared and medication given. Agnes will also check Jean’s colostomy bag, and make sure Jean is left feeling clean and comfortable. Jean is feeling a bit low today, so a note will be left for other carers.
>8.05am: Agnes heads straight on to the second visit of the day at Bradwell Common.
This will be double handed visit as the clientDavid, requires hoisting. Agnes’s colleague arrives just as she is dealing with David’s catheter.
Both work together to get David into position ready for hoisting into his shower chair. While Agnes takes David for his shower her colleague changes and makes his bed, and prepares David’s breakfast and medication.
Although Agnes is providing personal care she is careful to ensure David’s dignity is maintained at all times, and encourages him to carry out as much of the shower as he can.
David jokes and says it’s lovely to have someone wash his back for him again. After the shower Agnes helps David get dressed and helps him to his favourite armchair in the lounge. She assists David with his breakfast and medication before completing her notes and moving on to her next call.
> 9.10am: The next visit, also in Bradwell Common, is to see Mark. Mark has a hospital appointment today for fasting blood tests so has to skip breakfast.
The ambulance to take Mark to his appointment is due at 9.30am so Agnes’s visit is slightly shorter.
> 9.35am: While there Agnes receives a message to make an emergency toilet call in Oldbrook. When she arrives her first priority is the comfort of the client; a call is made to log the extra 15-minute visit.
The rest of Agnes’s day follows a set pattern with further planned visits:
>10am-11am – support with shopping and cleaning
> 11am-1130am – break
> 11.30am-12.15pm – assist to toilet, prepare lunch and administer medication
> 12.15pm-12.45pm – assist to toilet, prepare lunch and administer medication
> 12.45pm: Agnes’s last call of the day is a 15-minute visit to see Daphne.
The purpose of the visit is to make Daphne a cup of tea and a Marmite sandwich. Daphne is new to the service, her care is currently provided by her son who is juggling work and his own family’s needs along with popping in to see Daphne.
This visit will give Agnes the chance to build up a relationship with Daphne.
Daphne has memory problems and needs a larger package of care which will be put inplace once she accepts Agnes and the other carers.