Monday, November 28, 2011

Britain's Wonderful Care Workers

Here in Britain recently there has been a great outcry over the standard of home care for the elderly and infirm. There has been much gnashing of teeth and big banner headlines splashed across the toxic tabloids and television shouting that Britains' elderly are are being systematically abused by their uncaring care workers. As a fair minded cavy I would like to redress the balance a little. My male staff's poorly mum has care workers three times a day, morning, noon and night, and as far as I can see they are all wonderful. They do an amazing job under what are often very difficult and unpleasant circumstances. What's more they do it cheerfully and they treat people with as much dignity as possible.

My male staff's mum's morning carer comes at seven fifty every day and after feeding me and cleaning my cage she gets male staff's mum out of bed, makes sure she goes to the toilet, then washes her all over, She dries her off, applies moisturiser to wherever it needs to be applied. My male staff's mum is then dressed and led safely to the breakfast table where she is presented with a plate of burnt toast. The carer then gives me a treat of parsley, brushes my fur, kisses me on the nose, combs my male staff's hair and leaves. The carer has forty-five minutes to do all this.

A different carer comes at lunchtime. Usually she arrives on a push bike, no matter what the weather. After feeding me a bowl of dry food and cos lettuce her job is to make sure that my male staff's mum is comfortable and clean. She washes her if necessary and makes she she uses to toilet if she needs to. Before she leaves she gives me a cuddle, kisses me on the nose and straightens my male staff's tie. She has only fifteen minutes to complete these tasks.

Then in the evening another carer comes. Once again she washes my male staff's mum, undresses her and helps her put on her pyjamas and dressing gown ready for bed. She kisses me on the nose, changes my water, gives me coriander for supper and tucks my male staff into bed with his teddy bear. She has half an hour to do this and she does it with a smile on her face and some cheery banter on her lips.

Now I'm sure that the vast majority of carers are like this rather than the abusive type and I think it would be nice if they received  the credit they deserve. My male staff's mum is one of their easier jobs too. They wipe bums, clean poo off the floor, mop up vomit, administer medication and often simply give the elderly someone to talk to for a few minutes each. You'd think they'd get well paid for this, but actually my male staff is better paid - and I pay him with bush chocolate. They are paid about seven pounds an hour, which is bad enough, but get this. They are not paid to travel between jobs. They might have to drive for half an hour or more to get from one job to another, but they have to do this on their own time. They get a pittance of a petrol allowance but that's all. They may work twelve hours a day, but only get paid to eight. It's outrageous.

These poor carers are employed by private companies who are contracted by county councils who believe that it is cheaper to put the care of the elderly and disabled in the care of the private sector. It probably is, but that doesn't mean that that the care provided is better. All it means is that the private companies contracted will cut their costs to the bone in order to make a greater profit. Even a guinea pig knows that.
Care workers are exploited and those being cared for inevitably receive a lower standard of care because carers are so rushed. There is no way the private sector should be allowed anywhere near the elderly and infirm.

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