Long Distance Caring

Hermes

Registered User
Oct 8, 2014
17
Hello
Has anyone had experience of organising a care agency for their parent? We all live away and want to organise a weekly 'call in' to check all is ok. At this stage more to give us 'reassurance' and then to increase input as and when needed.
I am planning to meet up with the agencies with my mum, but would welcome any experiences or things members have learnt the hard way
What are the important questions to ask?
What helps to maintain a good working relationship with the agency?
Any other pearls of wisdom.

I have read helpful previous posts about how to get the person with dementia to accept carers/support. It's more on the 'long distant' part I would like some input.

Many thanks
Hermes
 

Pickles53

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
2,474
Radcliffe on Trent
Ask a lot of questions about how communication with you will work. The system with my mum's agency was that the carer who visited reported any issues back to their central team, who then got in touch with me. This worked OK most of the time, but to be honest I would have preferred to speak directly to the carer ( which is what I assumed would happen at first). I visited mum at least every couple of weeks, and occasionally found something in the daily care record that I felt should have been mentioned to me. Especially if you can't visit often, ask how you can get a copy of the notes that will be made at each visit.

You also need to know how they work with GPs etc. We had a right hassle over a repeat prescription which didn't turn up when it should have been delivered and also over getting a urine sample back to GP. Admittedly this was largely owing to the incompetence of the surgery but the care agency made hard work of sorting it out.

My other point is to be sure they have a good out-of-hours system and robust contingency plans eg what happens if usual carer reports in sick or gets delayed by an earlier call. I sometimes got anxious phone calls from mum when the carer was late, so asked them to notify me if this was going to happen.

There are bound to be some teething troubles I think. Keep a very close eye on what happens in the first week or so and make a big (polite) fuss if what was agreed is not being delivered. I was promised a maximum of 3 different carers and in the first week 10 different people covered 14 calls!

Put everything in writing especially if you have a complaint and demand a written response. After a phone call, I always emailed the agency confirming what had been discussed and what action had been agreed.
 
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Hermes

Registered User
Oct 8, 2014
17
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences
Best wishes









Ask a lot of questions about how communication with you will work. The system with my mum's agency was that the carer who visited reported any issues back to their central team, who then got in touch with me. This worked OK most of the time, but to be honest I would have preferred to speak directly to the carer ( which is what I assumed would happen at first). I visited mum at least every couple of weeks, and occasionally found something in the daily care record that I felt should have been mentioned to me. Especially if you can't visit often, ask how you can get a copy of the notes that will be made at each visit.

You also need to know how they work with GPs etc. We had a right hassle over a repeat prescription which didn't turn up when it should have been delivered and also over getting a urine sample back to GP. Admittedly this was largely owing to the incompetence of the surgery but the care agency made hard work of sorting it out.

My other point is to be sure they have a good out-of-hours system and robust contingency plans eg what happens if usual carer reports in sick or gets delayed by an earlier call. I sometimes got anxious phone calls from mum when the carer was late, so asked them to notify me if this was going to happen.

There are bound to be some teething troubles I think. Keep a very close eye on what happens in the first week or so and make a big (polite) fuss if what was agreed is not being delivered. I was promised a maximum of 3 different carers and in the first week 10 different people covered 14 calls!

Put everything in writing especially if you have a complaint and demand a written response. After a phone call, I always emailed the agency confirming what had been discussed and what action had been agreed.
 

DivingDavey

Registered User
Feb 18, 2015
32
Solihull
I haven't any experience of orgainising any care from long distance, but we did use the Age UK befriending service for my mother while she was at home and it was really superb.

You have to pay for it (I think we paid around £13 per hour) but you'll probably have to pay for a care agency anyway. The big bonuses for us were that we got the same person everytime and also that they were a lot better than the agency staff who used to come and try to prepare her a meal. They also seem more personable and sensible, they were also willing to take mum out in the carers car etc.
 

sistermillicent

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,949
One of the things that impressed me about the care agency we ended up using was not what I asked them but what they asked ME. They wanted to know exactly where the fuse box was, what gas there was in the house, where the water stopcocks were, look at and noted anything they thought could be a potential difficulty, eg steps and loose rugs.
The other agency, a national and well known one, did not do this.

It gave me confidence that mum's safety was a priority and that they would know what to do, I never would have thought of giving them that info.

They also have a system where the carer rings the office from our home phone (local number) when she arrives and when she leaves so that they clock her hours exactly.

Not the only important things but I felt they could easily have been overlooked.
 

LongDistanceCarer10

New member
Jan 5, 2020
7
Hi, yes I've been lucky to find a good care agency for my aunt. I started with fortnightly visits, then weekly. She doesn't want any help and is protective of having jobs taken off her, so it was hard for her to see the purpose of the visits. Moreover, due to her memory, she mostly denied that they ever came and rarely knew who I was asking about. They were useful then to take her to appointments etc. When she got into difficulty with her medication, I had to switch to daily visits. This gives me some reassurance as before then there were only a couple of other points in the week when I could be sure she was ok, without having to phone.

The daily visits took some getting used to and caused more confusion and anxiety and fears of intruders, to the extent of phoning the police frequently. After weathering this for a while, it did settle down. She'll still often say they don't come daily and that she's not had her tablets (not true). Luckily I've been able to meet with them and they are good communicating by email, which helps.

They do have to pass on some things for me to organise, like problems in the house, so whilst they are great for care, I still feel overwhelmed with everything else - like 10 phone calls and an hour late to work due to the roof leak this week!!

I strongly suggest meeting them and checking CQC rating and staff training and history of the company.

Tired-long-distance-carer!