In a quandary about home care services

Hello all,
I am in a right quandary about knowing what to do for the best.
My father is receiving home care services, 30 minutes per day, whereby two care workers come in and attend to personal care. Obviously undertaking personal care on an individual has to involve very close contact.
Whilst we have received a letter today from the agency stating that they are trying to limit the number of carers attending an individual, next week we actually see the number of different carers rise.
Dad is terminally ill and has COPD and cancer, so he is “high risk” from COVID-19.
With carers often being on zero-hours contracts, I can see they might be more tempted to work when unwell than others.
When the advice is to stay 2 meters away from someone, this makes personal care impossible for either me or the carers.
My quandary is, should I limit the number of people coming into the house (Dad is housebound anyway) and undertake the caring role myself, or should I just persevere and insist that the carers wear masks, use alcohol hand gel on arrival, wear gloves as soon as they enter the house until exit etc?
Until this week, the carers have been wearing their own clothes rather than uniform, and have only just started wearing disposable aprons.
As a ‘customer’ paying for the care service (albeit subsidised by the LA), is it our rights to insist that the carers wear the PPE that we want them to in these instances?
Thanks for any comments - just hoping to chat really and wonder if anyone else is having similar thoughts?

Hello and welcome!

What do you want to do? Do what you think is the best. It might be a “silly” decision but at least it will be your decision.

This virus is going to be with us for some months.

Everything now is personal choice. And each family’s circumstances will be different. You need to find a way forward. That you feel comfortable with long term.

Thank you both - the one concern I have is that if I stop the carers, social services will think we can cope and therefore withdraw the service in the long run. Therefore, may be best to stick with it, and just be assertive with the care workers re PPE?

You could have a conversation with Social Services. Start the conversation not about with drawing the service. But what advice/guide lines are they giving to care agencies. I’m sure there has already been some form of standards and/or procedures. Put in place minimum standards and expectations. Have a look on your local authority web site.

The carers should be taking precautions anyway to avoid spreading bugs, washing hands before and after dealing with client, disposable gloves, aprons etc, most paid carers I know have disposables in the boot.

You would hope the paid carers would all have done a health and safety hygiene course as part of their training, ask the care agency?

They should wash hands when entering (Alcohol based cleaner or soap/water) Considering your Dad has Cancer, they should be wearing disposable aprons and gloves anyway when assisting him, and under the current situation a facemask also. These have to be provided by the care organisation.

My sister and I have decided today to cancel our aunt’s home care with effect from tomorrow. She’s 86 and frail, and still recovering from a shoulder replacement.

My sister has no spleen and so is also particularly vulnerable. She’s going to move in with my aunt for as long as is necessary. The plan is to let nobody else into the house. I’ll try to do the shopping, and if necessary I’ll leave it on the doorstep. I live more than 100 miles away and work full time, so it’s going to be complicated but for us it seems like the best we can do to try to protect my aunt and sister.

Good luck to everybody, btw. The situation is fast becoming a nightmare.


If it was my Dad and I felt able to look after him I would.

The government may well soon announce up to four months of self isolation for over 70s and vulnerable groups.

Therefore to make it effective you would need to self isolate as well.

Get a tesco shop online and have it delivered on the step.

But only you know what you can cope with. I myself face up to four months self isolating with my family.

I have already cancelled my sons day provision as I think the risk is too high. Probably social services will still he paying them though.

Most supermarkets that offer on line service have no slots left for the next 3 weeks. That in itself is causing problems.