Thursday, 25 July 2013

Care and Care Agencies

At the moment I am happy with the Care Agency I have.  Which is actually quite a big deal.  Having to have physical assistance with even the smallest task is not a very dignifying process and so having the right person/personal assistant/carer, or whatever you want to call them, can make all the difference.

I hate having to have care, hate it hate it hate it...!  Its undignified and embarrassing.  However if you've got to lump it whether you like it or not, it might as well be good care...

I have a lot of physical assistance with getting in and out of bed, dressing, showering, food preparation and other general day to day tasks – picking up things, reaching, feeding/cleaning my tortoises etc… In short without the assistance of others I could not survive but although that sounds like a depressing thought, it is not.  Having care is hard but it is something that you can learn to get on and deal with and live a productive life.

I have had care throughout my entire life, in differing forms.  As my degenerative condition progresses, the amount of help I need increases.  My experiences with care agencies did not happen until my early twenties, when I was no longer able to transfer independently from bed to wheelchair or dress my lower half.

During the time that I have needed care I have undertaken several university courses and worked for 10 years as an administrative assistant.  I have a good social life and when I was 29 I passed my driving test (I am unable to dress myself but I am able to drive a car, weird huh!).  So needing care is not the end of the world.

To receive care, I have a budget that the government gave me after an assessment by social services.  I then use my budget to pay for my care agency.  My local social services department looks after my budget for me.  However I know that you can receive this budget into a bank account yourself and use that on a care agency or other needs, this is called direct payments. Here is a good website to explain this: DP Link

A few years ago I did use direct payments.  The money was paid into my bank account on a monthly basis (a separate account, not my current account), the invoices from the agency would come to me and I would pay them using this money.  At the end of the month I would also fill-in a form for social services detailing what care I had, had and what I had paid for.  I did this quite successfully for about year and then things started to go wrong with the care agency I was using.
They started sending me a carer I was not happy with.  I didn’t feel that she could undertake the job safely or to my satisfaction and I resented paying for the service.  I looked around to a few more care agencies but was unsuccessful in finding one who could take me on… And so I was forced to go back to social services and I asked them to take over my budget and find an agency for me.  I still get to approve or disapprove of an agency and still maintain ultimate control, I just don’t have to deal with the money any more.

So why do I use an agency?  I am a creature of habit and my routine does not change much on a weekly basis, this makes my care rota quite easy for an agency to cover and using an agency means that if my regular carer is off sick they will replace her with little stress for me!!

The Care Quality Commission is in charge of regulating and reviewing care providers and can be helpful when looking for information about agencies or other providers: CQC Link

I do not have a lot more to say on this subject as I know that my knowledge is kind of limited because I do not use direct payments and I go to a care agency rather than having personal assistant/s (PA).  I would like to find out about having personal assistants and I don’t think there is a lot of information available on this.  I would be really interested in hearing from somebody who does have PAs, how they advertise to get a PA, how they organise their care in a rota around what PAs they have and what tasks they can get their PAs to undertake.  Particularly as this might be the kind of care that I require in the future or if I decide to take on directs payments again.

On a final note I will say that if you are in any doubt about any of the care that you receive, please do not hesitate to tell anybody about this, a friend, relative, social worker, occupational therapist, police, neighbour, absolutely anybody.  You do not have to put up with any potentially harmful or abusive care.  There is good care out there!!

Please contact me and we can then expand the website to include more information.

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