“… our alleged ‘loved ones’”

This is an important article, and the journalist has used a term in the tiele I’m almost sucared to use: The way we’ve outsourced care for our alleged “loved ones”, paying people as little as possible to do what we’re not prepared to do ourselves. We are meant to love those in our care. We are meant to care for those in our care. So what is going wrong?

In the article, it says:

“Some people won’t like reading this, but for years when various scandals have erupted in aged-care facilities and people have complained about how badly their Nan/Pops/Mum has been treated, there’s been a nagging, uncharitable thought at the back of my mind:

Looking after your relative was too hard, too demanding, too difficult, maybe impossible, so you outsourced the job to strangers mostly employed on the minimum wage or close to it and are outraged when the service isn’t good.”

The article closes by saying, “Most of us – in much easier and much better-paid jobs – want care cheaply outsourced and don’t especially want to know, until a pandemic forces it on us.”

So let’s all think about this very carefully, and then ourselves what’s going wrong. I hope to write more about this soon. 

8 thoughts on ““… our alleged ‘loved ones’”

  1. It is such an important topic. So many factors contribute to leave loved ones in care of aged care facilities, trusting that they will look after them like we did. Law has to change and more environmentally friendly atmosphere all over the world for elders and those who live with dementia. We talk about Human Rights but we put them in silos. I have not been able to come to terms with it. We need to stop the stigma about this, old and dementia and CALD. We all are getting old and will be different in our needs. This segregation should stop. We need to respect differences and be there as a human being as ONE not in siolos.

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    • Thanks for your important contribution o this dicfficult topic Tara, and for your timely comments. It is one very tough decision to make too, and one I will probably never quite get over making! xx

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  2. This is a very interesting one which speaking as an outsider looking in and seeing all sides of fences and coins I can sympathise with all involved.

    Used to work in the community and often did wake and watch / overnight stays or extended respite visits during the day and some people whose physical care needs were minimal still had to have two care staff attend every time because of the mental exhaustion and stress it caused. I swear the hardest job in the world is to care for a loved one with dementia at home but never realised just how hard it is until then.

    So when I eventually became a care home manager, one thing I emphasised strongly to staff was how they were never to judge relatives, make them feel in any way guilty or take the view they had in some way “abandoned” a loved one because it’s a job that’s difficult even for those of us fortunate to be in a position where we finish our shift and go home. When staff were nearing the end of a 12hr shift and feeling tired, worn out and weary of the same person following them around and asking the same question for the 145th time, they can at least say to someone else “Can you please go and help Mrs Smith? I’m feeling myself getting a bit short and sharp”

    People caring for their loved ones at home are likely to get shorter and sharper much quicker but often don’t have anyone they can ask to just deal with something whilst they take a breather outside.

    It is however really frustrating when relatives become very critical of everything almost unable to help themselves finding fault but with things they’ve clearly had to really look and think hard before they found at all. I do try and keep in mind there’s often an element of guilt from many families and that maybe this manifests itself by turning their feelings out onto care home staff.

    Some however are infuriating, unfair and go to everyone and everywhere else but to those they should be going to if they have genuine concerns or complaints.

    Have always had a very honest and open door policy making sure residents, relatives, staff and any other visitors know if they have anything on their mind or they want to raise – come and speak with me. I’m a fair, reasonable and totally open and approachable person there’s no reason why anyone need feel they can’t speak with me but in the event there’s something they really don’t feel able to raise directly with us and it’s a serious concern, everyone is urged to flag up worries, speak with CQC or the local authority safeguarding team and at least have them follow up and make sure there’s nothing untoward that needs addressing.

    One relative got my back up and unfortunately met the wrong side of me decided not to speak with anyone or lodge so much as an informal verbal complaint to a soul at the home when she apparently felt her Mum was being starved, served prison slop when she did eat and claimed bruises she found daily were unexplained and amounted to possible abuse.

    Went to Facebook slating not just the home but the staff – full names and even shared photographs of her Mum and other residents whose permission and consent she neither had nor sought.

    As it turned out, a relative of another resident had seen her post and messaged one of the care staff who in turn alerted me.

    I knew this woman had a serious drug and alcohol problem which was the reason her Mum ended up coming to us one weekend via emergency duty. She’d driven to the home once drunk as a skunk and I took the keys off her, drove her home and said she could come get her car the next day so we knew she was prone to binge drinking and bouts where she’d drink herself almost into oblivion.

    Everyone was understanding, sympathetic and made sure she was always welcome but that’s why I was so angry at her now suddenly turning on everyone and making absurd, outrageous claims.

    Tried to call her several times then as it was getting late, sent a private message via Facebook and said “Please remove the posts and photographs immediately I can’t stress the importance or urgency. You have shared private and confidential information about staff and residents you could legally land in serious trouble if it stays up and is seen by everyone else. It’s not fair or justified anyway but I will try and call you again first thing for a chat. If you get this in the meantime, you must remove your post. Please call me or bob in first thing we really need to talk”

    Whether she didn’t want to lose face or what I don’t know but unbelievably she copied my message, posted it onto her page and wrote “THIS IS THE MANAGER NOW THREATENING ME IF I DON’T REMOVE WHAT I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO WARN PEOPLE ABOUT!!!”

    Honestly could have pasted her I was so angry.

    Fortunately it didn’t have any lasting or significant impact but people like her really ought to have a word and consider what and where all their anger and frustration is really coming from and if they can justify hand on heart what they’re doing, saying and how they’re going about it.

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    • Hello,and THNAK YOU for joining the coversation here. It is such an important topic, and one I too can see many sides of, though not all, as I have never manages a residential care home. One thing I do regularly see, is that very few are willing to take full responsibility for their actions or inactions, and prefer to blame others. Looking in the mirror is bloody hard work! xx

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  3. There is a range of reasons why it is not always possible to keep older people at home. The carer may be grappling with their own health issues. Or the person has mobility issues or other health problems that require two people to transfer them. Or they require round the clock care that would deprive the in-home carer of sleep. Caring for someone with physical and cognitive impairment is relentless, draining, stressful and often not sustainable, no matter how much we love that person
    In the case of offspring, they are probably holding down a job so they are able to pay the mortgage, pay for the kids’ education, keep food on the table. Providing 24 hour care simply may not be an option. None of us should judge when we don’t know the circumstances. Perhaps, if there were more in-home support, fewer people would be in residential care
    Suggesting that it is an abrogation of responsibility to “outsource care” is like saying it is an abrogation of responsibility to send children to school when parents should take on the responsibility of educating their kids

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    • I’m in deep thinking mode Penny… we did not feel able to support my father in law at home and then had a hideous expert with the second nursing home he was in. It’s so difficult and such a worry for families. The issue (I think) is we don’t have enough suitable residential options and staff are do undereducated and underpaid. Anyway more time to think is needed but thank you for joining this extremely important conversation. xx

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