Saturday, October 04, 2008

Depressed in a depression

Just finished another care work shift. It's like doing a care marathon: 'Nearly there, nearly there. Just another five clients to go. First client only made me 2 hours late, and that time is reducing. Oh she hasn't got any fresh milk. Never mind. I'll open the UHT. Damn, there's shit everywhere. Well clearing all that up will only take ten minutes.' We don't get paid travel time, plus the time that people are on our rotas - normally for me anyway you can double that. Easily. Any extra time I work I don't get paid for. The way I see it is that the sort of people we care for should be getting the best treatment, the best homes and the best lifestyles. They are severely disabled so this care and treatment that they should get should compensate them for the bum hand lady luck dealt them. Of course the opposite is true most of the time. The homes are dirty. The care is insufficient: utterly underresourced, poor training and poor supervision. And we don't get enough time with them. They don't get any advice or advocacy. The first lady I saw - with complex needs had crap stains all over her bed. The house was much dirtier than when I last saw her. She said her main carers were on holiday. Well the company know that so why can't they spend an extra whatever it is making sure she gets good care? For complex cases we need two carers if the regular carer is away. Because I actually do care I cleaned all this up, put fresh sheets on the bed and made it what I considered habitable. I was then half an hour late - of course not including travel time.
I actually quite enjoy the work. The system on the other hand is another kettle of fish.
Because they don't pay you adequately, and you're not given a break, you inevitably rush. I started work at 7.30, finished at 3pm. It's actually a full day's work - no break. I ate half a marmite sandwich for 'lunch' in a car park. I got hiccups because I was eating it so fast. 15 minute appointments need to be outlawed. What can you do in 15 minutes? Rushing is not good. This is supposed to be 'care'. I end up prioritising - they must eat, they must fill in my timesheet, I must fill in their care plan. Emptying commode and washing up get forgotten.

Anyway progress since the 1930s is at least antibiotics. One of my old ladies showed me her wedding photo. She couldn't remember when it was, but it looked like about 1936 to me. Her husband died a few years later from pneumonia.,

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