This is a subject that doesn’t seem to disappear within the disabled and elderly community – the struggle to hire carers or PA’s to help with vital daily tasks.
According to a report published in October, an estimated 70,000 care users employ around 100,000 live-in carers and personal assistants (PAs) through public funds, via a system known as direct payments, to assist with daily tasks such as personal care, cleaning and transport.
I myself am on Direct Payment and just started the hunt for PA maternity cover. It was a struggle over two years ago to find someone to do full time – I know a few of my friends are struggling also.
Why is this? Is it down to the last 18 months. Because agencies and disabled people and their families are asking people if potential PA’s are vaccinated. Because the pay isn’t great and lack of training available. Brexit or now seen as an undesirable job because of the last 18 plus months.
Minus the vacation, weren’t all these issues already very present. agencies have reported in the past there turnover of staff is high – disabled people and their families have reported PA’s just stop turning up for their shift with no explanation.
The supply of carers and PA’s has dried up, leading to unmet care needs. Care is normally classed as one of the easiest jobs to get. We have certainly seen a drastic dropped within the care Industry.
My question is what happens when family and friends can’t easily just ‘step in’ or family need that vital respite. Are, people that are desperate for care being turned away, disabled and elderly people already face hardship every day.
Early this year, campaigners led by Disabled People Against Cuts wrote to the government, urging it to create new flexible immigration routes for care workers in order to prevent a “social care ticking time bomb, which will result in a devastating shortage of skilled, qualified care workers”.
Local authorities, don’t help situations but is it there fault?! with over worked and run social workers, plus sometimes not really understanding the persons needs. What would happen if they weren’t met. Trying to wrangle your care plan for funding or an additional carer can prove just as frustrating. By the time your care plan has the stamped seal of approval, the supply of carers and PA’s has dried up.
This struggle with unmet needs could lead to dangerous situations like missed medication, ventilation, toileting. That’s all before adding the support needed for food and hydration – even small things that on a daily basis could become a wider problem.
You can finally manage to hire new PA’s only for them to withdraw at the last moment to take a job outside the care sector – offering better terms and higher pay. The care sector is so poorly paid a dog walker gets paid more than you can pay a carer.
When you think of the job description for somebody with complex needs or even just basic help and daily support with toileting, eating and drinking, it’s a lot of responsibility and wages don’t reflect that.
A PA or carer can be paid £9.50 a dog Walker £15 an hour!
Care users funded by direct payments from cash-strapped councils or the NHS are heavily restricted in the pay rates they can offer. Recent wage inflation in other sectors facing staff shortages has compounded the problem.
You can quite understand why people are really scared. They’re terrified that their lives are going to be reduced to just literally existing.
When we’re talking about basic things – going to the toilet, having something to eat or drink, getting up out of bed, getting into bed. If people can’t even do that, they can’t get support to do that, what will happen to them? They just can’t do it themselves.
Until next time. Tell me what you think?
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