Coping with Good and Bad Carers

Mum has been home four weeks now and in general the care agency has been brilliant.

But as is a general rule in life, you always get a few bad eggs. Already I’ve noticed that when one name is one the rota, I warn Mum that the call will be late. When she finally turns up stinking off smoke its always over and done with as quickly as possible compared to the 30 minutes Mum is paying for.

A week ago the carer she was paired up with asked if she’d been drinking, she nodded.

I’d like to think I get on with most people and I’m already friendly with most of our carers, but it amazes me no-one has complained about this Woman. As we have double up calls her co-workers are often left sat in their car for 15-20 minutes.

Just tell the Care Agency that you no longer want this particular carer.

We had one that neither my wife or I particularly liked on a personal basis right from the first time we met her, and when she wouldn’t carry out procedures as she had been asked to do we just asked them not to send her any more.

“Co workers are often in their cars for 20 minutes” ???

Go and get them and give them jobs to do while they are waiting for the other one to turn up.

You are paying for their services and have a right to their time!!!

Definitely contact the agency and say how great the other care workers have been but how you no longer wish to have the tardy one. You won’t be the first to have said this, I’m sure. When S had care visits; I had to request this on two occasions - one chap was always on time, but had no rapport with S what so ever and he was getting anxious; the other was nice enough with him, but had dreadful time keeping and was being late for work as a result.


A problem with doubled up care in my experience is that the carers do not always travel and work together as a team, paired throughout the day. They have different assignments and often get around by bus or on foot. Hence one has to wait for the other to show up. The agency may stipulate that neither carer alone may perform any caring - they must wait for the second carer to arrive. Some agencies do have carers with cars who do travel together during the day. When we had carers it was not uncommon for the first one to arrive and do the work and then the other carer arrive just in time to sign the care plan and leave having spent 5-10 minutes in the house! That’s not right but it was the reality.

You’d do well to keep track of the actual length of time they spend caring for your mother and also how long they record in the care plan records. Are they doing all they are supposed to do? I would hope by now the agency has prepared a written assessment and plan for your mother’s care?

You need to see if the carers are, on average, spending the expected amount of time whilst doing what you’ve signed up for. I’d be concerned if I had reason to believe a professional carer was under the influence whilst on duty!

I’m told, like Rosemary stated, that the Carers aren’t allowed to start until both arrive as its a double call and they can’t work alone.

It makes me laugh that a few of the carers come on foot and stand outside the front door waiting for the other to arrive by car, I just want to open the door and invite them in, even if just for a chit chat and a cup of tea!

This is Mums third Carers agency and by far the best I’ve experienced, but of course they never stay for the full 30 minutes and always exaggerate the times in the log book. But if anyone can name a care agency where this doesn’t happen I’d be amazed.

Thanks to all who gave advice about the “Bad Egg”…I’m not a confrontational person, but will see how things go and at least I know my options now.

(I’ll try not to repeat my post this time!). I’ve thought for a long time that agency carers feel they’re ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’ when it comes to their timekeeping records. Generally, i believe, they are contracted and paid by the hour for the time spent doing the actual care, not per day and not for travel time. If they miss the bus or otherwise delayed, or have to wait for their colleague to arrive, they get behind schedule. If they rush the care to catch up or it just doesn’t take the full time allotted, I think the carer is tempted to write in the careplan that they’ve spent the full 30 minutes, for example, so it is consistent with the times per their work schedule and on their weekly timecard so they can get their pay!

What they don’t always seem to realise is the importance of the careplan documentation as a legal document of care and the need to keep accurate care records.

Then of course from the caree’s prospective, they want to be given the appropriate care and not to be charged for services and visit time they haven’t received. Another complication of living in Carerland! I never did see the contract between Mum and the LA, let alone the one between the LA and the care agency!!!

As your mother is completely self funding Stephen, have you seen the written contract and careplan this time around??

Surely a “double call” is for aspects of the care like hoisting. Lots of other things don’t involve hoisting??


My mother and I were advised she needed doubled up care for each visit and throughout entire visit for all repositioning, transfers, even rolling over in bed, as much for the carers’ health and safety as mum’s! Mum was not a large lady btw.

Even though I regularly got her onto the commode, used slide sheets and emptied catheter bags. It was what the hospital and LA OT ordered even though mum was stronger than they thought and able to assist. That’s health and safety for you, even though we had to pay 100%.

In fact, the agency did start sending just the one carer who did the job seemingly perfectly well BUT CONTINUED BILLING THE COUNCIL AND HENCE MUM FOR TWO CARERS!!! That was until I investigated after Mum received her first invoice, and through safeguarding case I managed to claw back some £1300 overcharged over a couple of months!

Mum did get reassessed by the OT who allowed her to have a single carer but the LA is very good at spending other people’s money!

I understand my LA can agree to a 30 minute call in which a second carer shows up for 15 minutes to do the hoisting but that was never offered and can you imagine the logistics of that?!

When the hospital wants their bed back, I think they are so eager that they dictate doubled up care just to get the patient out of the hospital. After all, the hospital isn’t concerned about spending other people’s money either. Yes, BB, you did get me started!

HoneyBadger funny your saying how the good ones move on. Just yesterday I bumped into one of mum’s bright carers who is now working at a BUPA care home. With a young son to look after, how much better must it be to do all your caring in the one place with no buses to catch between carees! I’m in Greater London.

Thanks for the interesting replies, Yes Mum has a proper care plan and she’s signed a contract. For those of you who know the nightmare we had in Mum’s care home, things are being done properly this time.

Is it true that carers only get paid for the hours in the Log Book while the Agency charges for the full hours in the contract? Sorry for my naivety but this is shocking and explains why there are so many lies, timewise.???

I think they get paid for the full time of their assignment. I think some carers are worried they may not if they write in the records they’ve been in the home for only a few minutes. I could be wrong though.

I do remember that some of mum’s carers would use the care records to fill out their timecards for the week. Of course you don’t know what the carers’ contracts are with the care agency.

Final straw tonight with the tardy carer, I heard Mum shouting during her bed time call so I popped my head in.

Despite Mums speech problems, it seemed she wanted the toilet. The carers had already dressed Mum in her nighty and she was sat on the side of her bed clearly distressed. I asked if she needed the toilet and unfortunately her reply was unclear, the carers were quick to say she’d been on the commode.

An hour later Mum woke me as her pad was already wet, the carers had written in the “care book” small amount of urine passed, when clearly there was still much more to come. Fifthteen minutes later I found Mum sat on the edge of her bed trying to pull out the pad. As writing this is the first time in six weeks of Mum being home, that she can’t settle because of the negligence of a paid carer wanting to get in and out as soon as possible. I am angry to say the least,

I really need to toughen up as I feel guilty for believing the carers over Mum. I just hate confrontation…

We are very lucky to have carers or rather one carer twice a day.But they are badly paid,no time &So many of these carers are not bothered to understand care plans,& many don’t understand ENGLISH!! I am my Husband s main carer,& can’t do everything as I myself have my own issues,with arthritis in both my knees & hips,& hands.My poorly Husband who has terminal cancer. & is severely sighted in both eyes & deaf…Some of these carers from abroad should really have to take proper English lessons.They don’t & are not informed at all on new clients.Sorry rant over regards Amandah

Amanda, the carers for your husband ought to be appropriately trained , no matter who’s paying and that includes ability to speak and understand English.

Very Sadly,these carers are not properly trained,they are care Assistant s.There are a lot of other care agencies in our town,but we would probably no better off.They seem to be completely rushed off their feet.& spend time writing the same old rubbish in the care book.Social services are under funded.Sad world

Stephen, I fear you may have an unwinnable battle on your hands. My mother who was old, poorly but had her memory in tact, told me the “carers” had allowed her to slip off her bed to the floor during transfer to commode and also hit her head on bedhead when moving her up in bed with a slide sheet. Of course I complained in writing to the LA but it was refuted by the carer agency. I didn’t actually witness that visit. Fortunately, we only had those carers about a week before mum went back in hospital. (That was our experience of reablement, bty!).

Do you think your mum ever went on the commode? Did you hear/see the commode being wheeled in? I know there’s been times Ive needed to go more than once in a short period of time!

I fear with your mum’s diagnosis it would be too easy for carers to falsify records and it be hard to disprove. I can’t know what went on. I’d suggest putting in a relatively inexpensive camera that you could use to see what was going on, both real time and afterwards. Just being in plain site, it could be a useful deterrent.

Im afraid, if it came to who said what happened, it would be too easy for people to not believe your mother, or even you, without proof - as once happened to me.

Is your mum content being at home with you? I expect she is!

Amanda, Sad situation indeed. Bty, my father was sent down to Milford and enjoyed growing up there. Taken back to S London when he was old enough to earn a few bob!

Thanks for the reply Rosemary,

I wrote in the carers book that Mum had asked to go back to the toilet and had been ignored. The morning carers were shocked and appalled that this had happened and today the night time carers were very clear that Mum had spent a “big penny” on the commode.

Mums carers know I’m watching them all the time, I don’t need a camera as I’m in the room next door and if I hear shouting I go in. In general the carers are still brilliant, except one. But I do appreciate that if this deteriorates, I’ll buy a camera.

Mum and I have a lovely relationship, she bosses me around and I do it. I tease her to keep her on her toes and sometimes we argue, mainly when I can’t understand what Mum wants… But Yes Mum is happy to be home. Something I thought I’d never see:-)