Respite care and a secret social worker

The only communication from social services, since our meeting, confirmed their agency request for   Wimbledon   support.

A five worder, complete with standard exclusions of half a page.

A week before the trip, another email,

‘Are both Mrs x (me) and yourself going?’ Workers must have leaked, I might not be.

I asked,why she needed to know,she replied,

‘I think agency would like to know if they will be supporting Mrs x to care for Isobel (as always spelt incorrectly), or, if the two workers will be there with Isobel?’

I again e-mailed as to why, and received,

‘I’ m not sure. The employer gives the workers a job specification and do risk assessment … so it is probably for that reason’.

I was still none the wiser, nor was the social worker, as to whether, or not, I was in fact going.

Throughout, the now 18 month support, I had not been required to be at home, but usually was.

This would be my first overnight respite for 18 months, and the agency fee would be the same, whether I was at home, or not.

On the 30 th June, at 16.00 hours, the respite onslaught began, the first shift till 22.00, second till 07.00, third till 14.00, fourth  to 22.00, and so on.

This feat of logistics, made my head spin.

But worse, made me appreciate, what it would be like for poor Isabel, in independent living, policed by itinerant zero hour care.

And, unlike Issy, I was not autistic.

The effect, such ‘care’, must have on an autistic person, is horrific.

And, the worse their behaviour is made, the more money available for their ‘care’.

And for the cosh of anti-psychotic drugs.

So profits, pharma, and, the independent LA corporate independent living providers.

During my ‘respite’, my kitchen became a factory floor.

Without the expense of rest rooms, canteens, or, clocking in machines.

I   signed some 2O timesheets.

My house was Isabel’s respite facility, and, I provided her food, drink, and clothing.

And, managed the staff, meeting and greeting, and farewelling.

This was maximised profit, commercial awareness at its best.

Despite this the LA, paid the agency over £2,500, for  3 days.

By day 3, at the start of the 22.00 shift, I was feeling well invaded, and definitely, in need of respite.

And in no mood to meet and greet.

Fed up making jovial small talk, to a myriad of different workers, one a total stranger, and another met once, I   forced myself into the kitchen melee of outgoing, and in coming workers.

A large, imposing stranger introduced herself with a strong, assertive handshake, and sat down.

I reassured her that a gentleman would soon be joining her.

She retorted ‘she knew’, having met him outside, and, ignored me.

Her reaction made me wonder why I had bothered, and by now, I was so ppped off, I said so, but was still ignored.

The lady then demanded I go through   Isabel’s routine.

I then uttered, what I had so far avoided saying, to previous workers for fear of causing offence,

‘I’m not supposed to be here. What would you do if I were not?’

Without reacting, she replied, ‘Where should you be?’

I ignored the question, returning to the reason for mine.

The ad hoc, ill prepared,unbriefed care workers, and the huge profits their agency were making out of them.

But  she dismissed me,  with a patronising,

’ You  need not concern yourself with all that’.

I was, by now, finding it difficult to formulate sentences, so I retreated to the lounge.

Within   minutes the door opened, and in walked the lady, with a,

‘Are you going to show me round the house’,

Before, I could stop myself I replied, ‘No’.

And she closed the door.

Shell shocked, I tried desperately to concentrate on the TV, and not, the night ahead.

I eventually steeled myself to be nice, and returned to the kitchen.

And showed the lady round the house, particularly   the places they could sleep, and got Issy’s bed clothes ready.

Issy, having a six sense for social workers, was unusually well behaved.

The next day, on mentioning the lady’s name, I overhead  a shocked worker, asking why the agency, had sent a social worker.

I now know, I was definitely  right, about not going to Wimbledon.

One Comment

  1. Oh my God, is it any wonder we parents write to keep oursleves sane?! Some respite you had!

    I used to have respite at home for my daughter but after a support worker dialed 999 on her claiming she felt threatened (she’d first rang her agency and said my daughter was screeching because she didn’t want to go to bed. They advised her to explain to my daughter (who has a mental age of 20 months) that she has to go to bed. It didn’t work and she called agency again saying my daughter was still vocal and that she didn’t want to stay on the shift. They told her they would send a replacement asap and if she felt threatened to dial 999 and that’s what she did.) My daughter is five foot tall, has cerebral palsy and a severe learning disability. She is so unsteady on her feet she can barely walk.
    It was shameful that the support worker had so little integrity as to do such an awful thing, which didn’t so much affect my daughter but other members of my family. The police remained in my home for 2 hours (to protect the support worker until agency sent a replacement) and nobody contacted me. I found out the following day when my daughter’s regular s/w called to the house to alert me.

    Our daughters are lucky to still be at home where we oversee their care and safety. It makes me wonder what goes on in the ‘independent living’ homes when care workers are so poorly trained in behaviour management, especially for people with a severe learning disability.

    I have only just come across your blog and look forward to reading your other posts.


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