Take Care and be aware!

Hi everyone
Just wanted to highlight something that people may not be aware of as we certainly weren’t!

My dad is 89 with a diagnosis coming up to year ago. Deteriorated physically and mentally throughout lockdown, as has my 85 yr old Mum. He now walks with a zimmer indoors (hip fracture 3 yrs ago), has had several falls, 2 small strokes in the last year and a half and has osteoporosis and COPD.

Has had carers going in for over 3 years now with gradually increasing needs. Now 3 times a day for the normal things including medication and continence care.

Last week the current care agency informed me that they were discontinuing his care. They gave the LA social services who commission his care although he pays for everything 4 weeks notice.

The reason they gaVe SS was non payment of bills but after I put the SS straight she went back to the agency and they then said that we’ve accused the agency of taking advantage of a vulnerable adult so they can’t continue the relationship.
What actually happened was that since August when my Mum started receiving domestic care from them, following the early termination of a post hospital discharge package we’ve been querying whether the carers were actually delivering ANY care to Mum.
In November, the director offered to cancel 6 weeks of charges between September and mid- October because by her own admission when she’s checked the carers electronic notes, they hadn’t been doing anything for Mum because Mum was just telling them she didn’t need anything. That was because Mum couldn’t remember that they were supposed to be doing a bit of housework for her every day. The Director said she would monitor the situation. That was near the end of November.

Of course they bill retrospectively don’t they, so beginning of December I received the invoice for Mid October to to mid November and, because I still hadn’t been given access to the electronic carers app’ to look at the notes and times, and, looking at the house, it seemed that they were maybe vacuuming every so often and washing up, but never giving the bathroom a clean or much else, and Mum couldn’t really tell me what they were doing.

I queried this bill too. I asked for access to the App (which I’d been promised in November) which I eventually got in mid - December (conveniently), but as the App is not user friendly and it was very time consuming to go back through visits from 2 months earlier, I asked the director to run a query and provide me with all the visits comments , and the times they logged in to Mams care and the departure time. Alternatively , I offered to pay 60% of the bill, as having looked at what was being documented as done for the current weeks worth of visits, they definitely weren’t doing 30 minutes daily and cleaning any part of the bathroom had never been mentioned. Bearing in mind that we’re in the midst of COVID and they’re going into the bathroom twice a day with outdoor shoes on whilst my parents are often in bare feet, that Dad often dribbles on the floor and occasionally there’s faeces on the floor, plus I’d told them where the swiffer, disposable wipes, mop, bucket, cleaning spray etc all were, I didn’t think was acceptable.

She must’ve decided she wasn’t prepared to accept 60%, and sent me the reports with the information for October to November.
Times they’d spent at the house varied from 1 minute to 15 minutes. I’d estimate that the average time over 4 weeks was about 5 minutes per day, yet the tasks were marked as C for completed (not R for refused) even though they were documenting “nothing to do” on many occasions.
At about this point she started to get a little shirty on the phone eg she rang to say she’d sent an (very pleasant!) email, and told us that there’s a contract they block out 30 minutes, and that’s payable even if the carers don’t do it because the client “refuses”
I said it was very poor practice for a company to continue to bill a vulnerable 85 year old lady with short term memory problems and issues around retaining control and independence to the detriment of safety (which they were well aware of) for more than 3 months and not raise the issue with us. I also suggested that by the carers marking the tasks as C for completed they were falsifying records, because when they wrote “nothing to do”, they must have meant refused and therefore should have marked them as R, for refused.

That was when she decided to “temporarily suspend” Mums care “until we could sort something out”, although I’m not sure what she expected me to sort out.
The the next day she announced they were cancelling the remainder of Mums charges and that she was also stopping Dad’s service from Feb 10th. Dad’s fees are paid to the council via DD every month.Local authority SW tells me they can do whatever they want as long as they give 4 weeks notice.

Everyone keeps telling me “there’s a crisis”. I understand that, but the fact that there’s a crisis makes the fact that they’ve just pulled Dad’s care even more disgraceful.

Remind the council that “assessed needs must be met”.
Both parents have assessed needs and SSD must arrange alternative carers!
There must be special provision within the plan for if and when mum rejects care.
Buy a Ring doorbell for them so you know times of arrival and departure. Charging for care that has not been provided is fraudulent.
Talk to CQC about what has happened. I suspect other clients are also being short changed.

Hi bowlingburn. You would think wouldn’t you, but the SW is very good at avoiding answering that question. I actually spoke to the senior SW for my parents locality and specifically asked what the legal situation was regarding the agency pulling out and dad ending up with no care package. She wasn’t phased by the question and the impression she gave me was that he could indeed be left with no care package because there’s a crisis.She certainly didn’t say that , one way or another he’d get the care he needed , even if it meant going into a residential home temporarily. No assurances.
The thing that’s really eating me is that SS are bandying about this reason for withdrawal of care as “non payment of bills” which is a half truth, and the dispute’s been about Mums care charges, not Dads
Well, really?

Bearing in mind that they sent an invoice for 10 weeks (guess they suddenly remembered they were providing care and hadn’t billed) at the end of October (Nov, as they mailed the bill to parents and Mum didn’t give it to me)

I paid August to Sep , once they changed the 2 x weekly 45 showering visits to 30 minutes, as they’d never showered Mum, (even when the post hospital discharge package was in place July-August) and the agreement at the beginning of August was 30 minutes a day for domestic help. Looking back (not at all easy) to that time period on the App, they were writing nothing to be done/required, or independent in personal care back then too. Haven’t got the in/out times as not available , but I’ll bet that they aren’t any different to October to December’s , so she’s lucky we’re not demanding a refund.

After a discussion and the director checking the records, agreeing with me and apologising, she cancelled the charges for Sep to October.

Regarding October to December, when I was given access to the App in the middle of December and checked the carers notes and looking at the current state of the house I said I would pay 60% of the bill (20 mins per day) or if she wanted to provide the records and in /out times then I’d see if I could reconcile the charges with the records.
When we got the times and told her that they should never have carried on charging , even if Mum was refusing, that’s when she cancelled those charges too and said she was cancelling her care.

SW makes it sound like we’ve had wonderful care and just not paid for it! My husband even asked her not to keep referring to none payment of bills as the reason. She’s not all bothered about the quality of (or rather lack of ) care provided by an agency they contract to provide care.
I will contact the CQC, and also make a formal complaint about SS as I’ve raised concerns with SS in the summer regarding the dynamic between Mum and Dad and Mums behaviour making it very difficult to ensure Dad gets the right care, and was fobbed off. The SS OT recently made a decision about Dads showering capabilities and what needed to be done in the shower room based on 2 photographs form the care agency when they suddenly decided to stop showering him
That was possibly after he fell off the perching stool backwards when the carer was with him.
That possibly happened because they weren’t putting his hearing aids in, so he couldn’t hear them telling up about stepping back etc.

So now we’re in a crisis situation with potentially no care package for Dad and myself (and my husbands on the verge of walking away. I’m so tired of it . I can’t think straight about what to do next and I’m tired of chasing everyone and constantly battling with my mother trying to sort things out and explain things, and trying to get her to appreciate risk and what it’s like for us. She can’t though. The other day I said to her “Mum we’re 58 and 50 and we haven’t had a holiday or a break for nearly 4 years” Her answer was “well I’m 85 and I haven’t had a holiday for 4 years either” I reminded her that when she was 58 she was having 4 holidays a year.

GP “assessed” her for dementia mid last week and because she only scored 6 on 6 SCIT, he’s not referring her to Elderly Psych’
I,ve been trying to get GP to assess her memory for the last year, and now finally managed and Mum sat there and said her memory was definitely worse , and he comes and says she doesn’t need a referral!
Just ignored all the examples of things I gave to the other GP on the phone. I’ll have to have another crack at them as shortly she wont be able to manage at home , at least not with Dad there too. She leaves lights on everywhere and the other night she left Dad’s electric blanket on all night and all day till I noticed it was on at 4PM.

Thinking that the best course of action might be Dad going into Res care . I worry that she’s resentful and sometimes not very kind to him. Again, another thing I tried to raise with SS back in the Summer.

Go away on holiday, there are lots of good cheap deals.
You can rent a cottage for a week under £200 with Last Minute cottages.
You are not appreciated or respected, your marriage has to come first, and your own well being.
Mum is responsible for her own wellbeing too, and stick up for herself.

I wish someone had said this to me long ago. Then my husband might not have had a massive fatal heart attack.