Carers' toilet frequency

Hello Everyone

I don’t know if I’m technically a newbie, as I have been a carer for my mother since mid March. She was discharged from hospital just before the first lockdown for at home care. So, it was fortuitous timing.

It’s been something of a roller coaster, as she was previously very independent.
Because she has pressure sores and is bed bound, the carers come in 4x a day to turn her and tend to her personal care; I do everything else re: her care.

I’ve always found the at home care very stressful; it feels like a constant intrusion and although I get out as much as I can and thought that I was getting used to everything, this pervasive feeling of intrusion never goes away.

We live in a bungalow and our bedrooms are VERY close to the bathroom. Indeed that was one of the attractions of the property. That also makes it very convenient for the carers, as there are no stairs or long hallways to negotiate.

Possibly because of this, one of the carers on the morning shift ALWAYS has a no 2 in the bathroom in the morning. It didn’t start off like this, but now she’s doing all of the time.

I wake up feeling okay and as soon as I go the bathroom, my heart sinks and it puts me in a mood, which my mother then picks up on. This has been going on for several months and I’ve kept quiet because I don’t feel that I can tell the carer to NOT use the toilet, but yesterday I went full PA mode and just removed toilet roll and wet wipes and then she used the kitchen towel which could block the toilet, so I’ve removed those too.

I realise that with COVID and the issues that people have that this sounds quite petty, but it’s not, at least not for me. The effect is cumulative. I can speak to the agency re: my mother’s care, but when it comes to the Carers’ behaviour I feel on much greyer ground. I don’t like some of their behaviour, although generally they are quite good, but don’t how to broach the grey areas when it concerns me and not my mother (she says she’s quite happy with the carers).

The carer who does the dump a day, I’ve had boundary issues with her which I’ve never really mentioned or addressed. When we first met, she was asking me personal questions from the off, how much she liked the property, her relationship history. I think that this was inappropriate. I’m not a “hail fellow, well met” kinda person. I’m private and introverted (I’m currently being assessed for being on the autistic spectrum) and felt as though I’d been ambushed and it was an invasion of my boundaries. I let it go unaddressed. I’ve often felt disrespected inside of my own home. I find that, due to time pressures, the carers aren’t as sensitive as they could be. But personality and temperament has a lot to do with this as well.

Any advice on how to deal with the grey areas re: working with external carers, would be very appreciated.

Talk to the care agency manager.

Hi J,
I can see two sides to this story, your right to a smell-free bathroom that is just for family, but also a paid carer who needs to o/b (personally when I need to go, I need to go) and who detouring to find an open public toilet would make her late for your Mum’s call or other calls.
I agree, if you don’t feel able to talk to her then you should contact the agency. Or, as your Mum is bed bound, am I right in assuming she receives all her personal care in her bedroom? If so, you could open the window in the bathroom before the visit and close it after.


Hello, J. I don’t think you can reasonably prevent visiting carers from using the toilet. However I agree it is a bit much when it happens as regularly as this.

I don’t recommend removing toilet paper, etc., but do express your concerns to the agency manager and, as Melly says, try to see both sides.

As a practical tip meanwhile, you can get air freshener sprays from supermarkets, etc. These chemically eradicate the smell - not just mask it with another smell. Use these, and open the bathroom window, and you may make things more bearable while you aim for a longer-term solution.

I can’t speak for this particular carer, I’ve never met her, and you can get carers who take liberties. I would just like to say a couple of things on behalf of us who work for homecare agencies of one sort or another.

The weekly schedule is mostly a nightmare, and this has got worse during covid. You can be out of your house from 7 in the morning til 10 at night. Before covid we relied on popping into McDonald’s or other places to use toilets and get a little break. Now we cannot even do that. Most public toilets have been closed around here, even Marks and Spencers now. Often you are sent to clients a distance from your home and your break is not long enough for you to go visit your own toilet.

Sometimes in a client’s house you do not want to ask to use their toilet because their place is not very clean, or you just don’t feel comfortable there. I don’t know what we are supposed to do!

We are all working really hard through this awful covid situation. Many carers like myself also care for family members on top of our jobs. We understand it is intrusive having strangers in your home because we have experience of this from our own lives. We are not perfect but we are doing our best through all the stress, worry, fear and exhaustion. We are only human and we may also have health issues of our own.

By all means speak to the care company if you are unhappy with the service you receive for any reason. Perhaps they can send you someone different.

I think regarding the toilet use, that it may be a right for a carer to use the toilet as when they are caring for someone, they are in fact at a place of work. I have carers in for my son for 9 hours a day, imagine if I didn’t allow them to use the toilet in that time. It would be unreasonable and I doubt whether many would stay doing the job caring for 9 pounds an hour if they couldn’t even use the toilet. It’s common sense really.