Carer says “It is a crazy situation; I cannot handle this any more”

‘I can’t go on caring without any help’
by Graham Henry, South Wales Echo
Mar 29 2011

THE family of a stroke victim has hit out at the “horrific” standard of care given to her.

Pensioner Robert Regan, 69, from Trowbridge, Cardiff, says that failures have left him, a stroke victim himself, as his 66-year-old wife Thelma’s 24-hour carer with “virtually no break” for weeks on end.

Mrs Regan suffered a severe stroke in April 2007, which left her paralysed down one side, unable to talk and requiring round-the-clock care.

But her husband said the private care company that provides his wife Thelma’s domiciliary care – Care UK – has “effectively cancelled” vital night care agreed when his wife was re-assessed in November.

The company had agreed to provide care for half an hour every morning and half an hour in the evening, with a night carer available for 21 hours over three days.

But last month, the company told Mr Regan that it would not provide only one carer for health and safety reasons, saying that it would require two carers, which it could not pay for.

“The care package was agreed to look after me, as well as her, and that was the only way we could have her home,” Mr Regan told the Echo.

“It is a crazy situation; I cannot handle this any more. It just seems they are doing everything to stop providing the care they said they would. I can’t go on without any sleep, I can’t go on caring for her with no help and I have had it with all the excuses the council offer.”

The family claim that a face-to-face meeting with council officers on Friday to address the problem, failed to guarantee the night care agreed in November.

Mr Regan said the council had offered to pay one carer to stay up overnight – and wake him if Mrs Regan rings a bell for help – or that the council could pay for Mrs Regan to go into full-time care.

But the family rejected this offer following a “completely appalling week” of respite in the Elizabeth Ward in West Wing at Cardiff Royal Infirmary in March 2008, during which they allege she was left in urine-soaked sheets and covered in food.

Mr Regan said: “Would you put her into full-time care after what she went through? The kids are telling me ‘You can’t go on like this, you need to put her in full-time care’, but she’s my wife and I care for her at home because she wants that. All I want is the help with that that they promised.”

Mr Regan said care workers – whom he said did a “fantastic” job when they did come – often turned up late and sometimes not at all because they had been double-booked or had to travel across the city.

His son Michael Regan said he feared for his father’s health.

He said: “My dad has given up; he doesn’t want any more meetings or phone calls. There are probably a lot of people in the same position – and three to six months down the line, social care is going to be absolutely horrendous.

“My dad’s attitude from the start is that he is responsible for caring for mum, even if it is killing him.”

The claims come after the council faced criticism of its handling on home care.

Cardiff council pledged to reduce the number of private companies responsible for domiciliary care from 56 to 11, with new contracts due to come into force on April 1.

But companies that lost out on contracts criticised the council for the “fundamentally flawed” tender process and doubted whether it could implement the handover of patients in time.

The Regans have gone through five different care companies providing domiciliary care in three years.

Labour’s Trowbridge councillor Monica Walsh said: “I dealt with Mr Regan’s case in February when he had issues with the carers turning up late.

“It’s absolutely appalling that they are taking this decision because of money – and when they are paying a carer to wake him up in the night – I have never heard of something so ludicrous.”

A council spokesman said: “Cardiff council and its care providers are always seeking the best care solutions for its citizens. On Friday, the council met with the family and the care provider in this instance, Care UK. It was agreed at the meeting that the original care package would be adapted and that all parties would work closely with the family to resolve any issues that may exist.

“Cases are kept under review to underline our commitment to ensure all our clients are satisfied with the service we provide.”

A spokeswoman for Care UK said carers made every effort to arrive promptly but that it was not always possible.

She said: “Sometimes, carers have to spend longer with a previous service user than anticipated, which will slightly delay them. Or they may be held up by unexpected traffic jams.

“This is why we build in a ‘window’ of time which recognises that a carer may be up to 15 minutes early or 15 minutes late to an appointment, and that is within our contractual arrangements.”

Read More

2 Responses to Carer says “It is a crazy situation; I cannot handle this any more”

  1. Boy do I know how you feel, and it does not stop when you get carers either. Read my latest blog entry to see what I am talking about

  2. annie says:

    It is appalling that anyone is left in this situation, but sadyl, many of carers are left to struggle on unaided, they are second class citizens who save this country millions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.