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Carers with poor English - External agencies

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
178
Carers with poor English - external agencies

I have just telephoned my mother who has a Carer visit every Friday to take her out. In her area the service is not provided by Social Services, but is contracted out to an external agency. I have spoken to her Carers before and everything was fine.

Today the lady on the other end of the phone seemed to barely understand what I was saying. I didn't ask anything too demanding; had Mum gone out today as she likes walks and what's the weather like there today? She asked me to repeat the question and after a stunned silence she said, "No it's cold". I found out that she was Spanish. I have no problem with that, but you would expect Carers to have a reasonable standard of English. I am sure she is very caring but very much doubt if she is able to provide the same stimulation as someone who is fluent in the language.

Has anyone encountered this before
 
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Onlyme

Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
4,995
UK
Mum's carers are often from the African continent. She asked to go home to England as she thought she was abroad.
 

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
178
Hello Emily

I had a similar experience with carer's but it was when my mum was in a care home, one of the carer's who was obviously caring but sadly she could barely speak or understand English. I found this very worrying.
I agree lexy. Especially worrying if she is supposed to be taking Mum out.
 

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
178
Mum's carers are often from the African continent. She asked to go home to England as she thought she was abroad.

I suppose you can see the amusing side of that. Understandable if she's not lived in a very cosmopolitan part of the country. It doesn't matter where they are from as long as they are caring and can speak a reasonable level of English.
 

Ann Mac

Registered User
Oct 17, 2013
3,693
I actually think this is quite a serious issue, when it arises, though thankfully, during 20 odd years as a carer, and in the last few years with Mil, I've only encountered it twice, both times when I was actually working.

A huge part of being a carer is communicating. With your client, with fellow workers, with the clients' family and friends, and last but not least, with any other people you encounter as part of the clients care, which can include GP's, Social workers, district nurses, etc. An inability to speak or understand the common language used by all these people is a massive barrier to providing even basic care to an acceptable standard. How can you reassure a vulnerable client if you don't fully grasp the language and they struggle to understand what you are saying? How can you respond to their needs, medical, social or otherwise if you can't understand clearly what they are asking for? How do you pass on what could be really important information to the relevant 'bodies' and fellow staff? What about reading and writing in care plans, where the information both given and recorded has to be legible and accurate? What about being able to understand enough to follow instructions given by a GP, for example?

An actual example here, from several years ago - a client prescribed eye drops, which a carer with poor English put in their ears after getting the two words mixed up :(

The ability to communciate is as important in a carer as their capacity to actually care - maybe even more so!.
 

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
178
I would have a word with the Care agency and say you don't find the carer's inability to comprehend the English language acceptable and could they make sure they only send carer's who can. I was forever "having a word" with care agencies about various problems, most better care agencies will usually accommodate your request.
Thanks lexy. I had a word with my Mum and she seemed to get on fine with the Carer and said she could speak English, but of course she may not be the best person to judge!! There is another source I can ask. I will do that first. The main thing I am concerned about is that Mum will be safe if she goes out with this lady.
 

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
178
I actually think this is quite a serious issue, when it arises, though thankfully, during 20 odd years as a carer, and in the last few years with Mil, I've only encountered it twice, both times when I was actually working.

A huge part of being a carer is communicating. With your client, with fellow workers, with the clients' family and friends, and last but not least, with any other people you encounter as part of the clients care, which can include GP's, Social workers, district nurses, etc. An inability to speak or understand the common language used by all these people is a massive barrier to providing even basic care to an acceptable standard. How can you reassure a vulnerable client if you don't fully grasp the language and they struggle to understand what you are saying? How can you respond to their needs, medical, social or otherwise if you can't understand clearly what they are asking for? How do you pass on what could be really important information to the relevant 'bodies' and fellow staff? What about reading and writing in care plans, where the information both given and recorded has to be legible and accurate? What about being able to understand enough to follow instructions given by a GP, for example?

An actual example here, from several years ago - a client prescribed eye drops, which a carer with poor English put in their ears after getting the two words mixed up :(

The ability to communciate is as important in a carer as their capacity to actually care - maybe even more so!.

I totally agree AnnMac.

I had a word with Mum and she seemed to like the Carer and said she could speak English, but of course she may not be the best person to judge! This lady does not have to administer medicine, but is there to give my step-father a break and take my mother out. I will ask him if he thought her English was up to scratch. The main concern I have is that Mum is safe if taken outside the house.
 

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
178
Getting rid of the typing error in the titlle

I have just noticed a typing error in the title of this post and seem unable to alter it. I want to get rid of the apostrophe in Carer's. Quite funny really as I am complaining about the standard of English and can't get it right myself!
 

jan.s

Registered User
Sep 20, 2011
7,352
68
Hi Emily, you can change the title, by opening the first post of the thread, going into Edit, then Go Advanced. It will come up in an editable text box.

I always notice such errors as soon as I've posted!! (and like you, prefer grammar to be right!!) :)
 

Emily M

Registered User
Jan 20, 2015
178
Hi Emily, you can change the title, by opening the first post of the thread, going into Edit, then Go Advanced. It will come up in an editable text box.

I always notice such errors as soon as I've posted!! (and like you, prefer grammar to be right!!) :)

Thanks Jan. It is infuriating when you've just posted something and notice an error. I have corrected the title now. Still appears with the error on the main page under "Today's Posts" so it will be interesting to see if that corrects itself at the next update.
 
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