I’m very concerned about the number of cases people report of appalling treatment from their paid for carers.
I am told of agency staff who shoot in to the house for their allotted 15 minutes and shoot off again, having rushed around doing very little and having, more likely, left chaos in their wake.
Such clever moves as leaving a vital container of food or drink too high for the person to reach. Or being impatient with someone who needs to take time to get from A to B. Or failing to clean up properly after assisting with personal hygiene. The list, unfortunately, is endless.
This sort of attitude has a double-edged effect on the person who is supposed to be the recipient of care and support.
The first obvious point is that they do not actually receive any of the care that’s being paid for but more importantly there is a knock on effect of lowering that person’s expectations and their self confidence. It knocks you in the teeth when people treat you like this.
Personal budgets are, as they imply, drawn up around an individual’s personal requirements and the intention is to improve the quality of one’s life.
If someone is happy and healthy at home and in their day to day life they are clearly going to run much less of a risk of being a financial burden on the state.
The system has been around for a couple of years and you would think the wrinkles would have been ironed out by now, but it is still very much a matter of luck whether or not you get a good deal with your care plan.
That last word is what it’s all about. The plan. And the devil is in the detail.
It’s important to get the whole thing right from the start and the only way of doing that is by spending time with someone making sure that they are fully aware of what might be available and running through the different stages of setting it all up.
Time of course is what’s in short supply in this equation. Either from the point of view of an over-burdened social worker or of one of those inappropriate or downright careless carers mentioned above.
Having witnessed the difference in outcome I know that it is time well spent.
I have been involved in helping people set up personal budgets since they were introduced as a pilot project in Norfolk and in the interests of trying to make sure that more people get it right I will be running a series of training sessions in 2013 for those interested in taking on this important role.
This training is free. It will be run at the offices of WNVCA (West Norfolk Voluntary and Community Action) on the North Lynn industrial estate over three weeks in March. Contact me if you are interested.