Not happy with care home

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Margaret W, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    This is a new thread with an old theme and I am embarassed to be starting it, cos you have all already contributed your thoughts. Just wondered if some new ideas might come from new people.

    Still not happy with mum's care home. Today she was not wearing a bra. Mum has very pendulous breasts, doesn't feel comfortable without a bra. Last week she also had no bra, said it had gone to the laundry and not come back. Now she had THREE bras in August, so where are the other two, all labelled with her name. I had to go out today and buy two more bras. 5 bras in 8 months. Same with knickers, a 6-pack every month. There will be no money left for mum's fees at this rate. Tights can't have the name sewn in, so I have no idea what happens to those when sent for washing. They just disappear, it is a 5-pack per week, £2.50 from M&S.

    It doesn't distress her as such, I am pleased to say, it annoys her. She said, quite sensibly "I'm not sending anything else for washing cos it doesn't come back. I'd rather stay dirty and have my own things to wear". Not good enough is it?

    Of course, I could do her washing for her, would gladly do so, she isn't a fusspot, wouldn't want everything changing daily, but why should I when I am paying £485 a week for her care?

    What do I do? Some of you reading this will know that I am no good at complaining. I am really not. Despite having a reasonably high-level position in a University, I am just not a complainer. I am an acceptor of things. If I go to complain, I will do it wrong, I will be aggressive. And the first point that the other person says to excuse the situation, I will accept as reasonable. I will go home with nothing sorted.

    The Home is part of a group. Should I complain to the group? Or should I stick with the manager of the home? Should I write to her? Or should I do it face to face (gulp!).

    Of course it is not just the washing, it is other things, like she still has a broken toilet seat, I am still not notified when the doctor is called, mum is telling me this week about a waterworks problem, I have no idea what problem that is. I hope it isnt cystitis, cos she is prone to that.

    The manager is not on duty on Saturdays. I went to find a senior care assistant but she had to go into town to get extra toilet rolls, the juniors had no idea how to deal with me. Seems it is often like this.

    Perhaps I don't see the full picture. There are some residents who stay in their own rooms all day, and the staff tend to devote time to them rather than those in the communal lounge. I suppose that is right, but basically more staff are needed!

    People have said "move your mum", but I have recently investigated alternative homes in the area and none have any vancanies. So I am stuck. I could cry.


  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Margaret - I know this has been an ongoing problem for you and your mum. I wish I had some sage words of advice, but I don't really, although maybe some suggestions. Taking your last point first - moving her. If you can find another home you like even if they have no vacancies, have you considered putting your mother's name on the waiting list? I'm afraid the nature of the system is that while there may be no vacancies today, there well may be one or more tomorrow.

    I, personally, would be complaining to the line manager - I don't think there would be much point in raising the subject with the overall company, although I might "copy" them the complaint, particularly if I didn't get any joy when I spoke to the manager. If you really, really can't get your head around complaining, then perhaps it would be best if you took your mother's washing home with you, or perhaps just her undies? I realise they should get this right, but if they aren't AND you can't for whatever reason impress upon them that they should do, perhaps it would be less stressful for you to just deal with it yourself. I am much the same about complaining, so when it really counts I write it down and ask for a response in writing. It takes the emotions out of it and allows you to say what you want to say.
  3. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    Dear Margaret,

    I have followed your post abouts concerns with your mum's care home and I wasn't overly keen on the one mum was in even though she herself was quite content.

    In relation to your mum's undies this used to happen with mum and I knew that the washing system in place worked quite well and only mentioned once that mum didn't have any undies in her draw and with me knowing that she went through at least five pairs a day I had brought enough to cover 7 days and still the stock dwindled it wasn't until mum forgot about emptying her bin that I knew exactly where her undies were going along with their towels washers and Kylie sheets. The bin soon got checked daily.

    If you have a place in mind that you would rather have your mum in, then it would be wise to place her name as you can always defer. Sometimes it takes a little time for a placement but without being on the list you'll have no show. I placed mum on a waiting list for another home and six months later but sadly, three days after she died they phoned me. I had also tried for the whole time mum was in care to get a Dr from the surgery where dad mum and family attended.... to take over her care and on the afternoon before mum died I received a call from the receptionist to say, dad's GP will take over mum's care and will be reviewing her medical just wasn't to be.

    I was told by the C/H any problems don't hesitate to inform us....if we don't know of a problem then how are we expected to fix it. The trouble I found is they didn't what to know.

    All you can do is weigh your options and choose what you feel is best for your mum. Best Wishes, Taffy.
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Margaret

    I would put it all in writing.

    I get upset with a face to face confrontation. I would much prefer to be able to think calmly and carefully what I want to say and how I want to say it.

    I would write both to the manager of the home and the head office of the company.

    Love xx
  5. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    Dear Margaret, mine is a different perspective but not necessarily better than the others given.

    I raise my concerns in person. I don't like doing it but I think for me it is LESS stressful than sending in a bombshell in writing. However, I try to find the most senior person on duty to tell things to. I hope she gets fed up hearing from me and will act swiftly to remedy my concerns.

    I used to email concerns to a previous home my mother was in and she ended up being evicted so I am possibly a bit more cautious now.

    Depending on how long your mother has been in the home you might like to ask for a review of her care plan. It is usual to do this every six months or so, earler if necessary, and you could then sit down with the manager or whoever is taking overall charge of your mum's care and bring up the 'concerns' about the laundry 'bye the bye' rather than as a burning grievance. (I know it IS a burning grievance but if you are sitting down to talk about a range of things, then on the whole I think you will find it easier to address it calmly but firmly as simply one item on a list.) You may have good things to say too. I always try to find a few positives even if I have to scrape the bottom of my memory, because I think it makes me look more reasonable.

    I know one shouldn't have to go through this strategy: it's time consuming, but my ultimate fear is that at the end of the day, where else can my mother go? And how unreasonable will this home be prepared to be? If there was a wide choice of other readily available providers to whose care I could whisk away my mum I would perhaps be feistier. But they don't exist, for my mum, so I will just have to work with these carers and managers to get the best I can by the best method I can. If you don't feel you can speak to the home personnel I suspect that is not because you are incapable of doing so, but because you are getting messages that the staff don't want to hear from you. That doesn't sound like a good home to me.

    If however you have already spoken to the home more than once about your worries, then perhaps a letter is indeed called for. You could also have a conversation with your local CSCI office and find out when they are next visiting and whether they would look into laundry handling.

    Good luck
  6. citybythesea

    citybythesea Registered User

    Mar 23, 2008
    coast of texas
    Dear ladies and gents...

    Never had this problem with moms care:) I would be the one to talk to myself..and I have not been good at that lately:eek:.

    I do want to relay how a friend took care of a situation. She was paying for her mother to be taken care of at top dollar prices. One problem here another problem there...some addressed some not. She knew several people there and asked what physical problems they saw. Broken toilet, door didn't lock, window didn't lock, several small things. She managed to get friends and business to come in an address the problems on one day. She arranged the charity with director (he gave charitable contributions to the business') after the business had received their paperwork , for tax write-offs, she sent a nice letter to Health services outlining what kind of charitable work had to be done and that if these little things were being ignored there must be a bigger she was also not being notifies when DR's came and what meds and paperwork was not always up to date.

    Needless to say her mother is now well taken care of, the director is no longer there and the staff follows the rules of society. Her letter had been anonymous, but the businesses were nice enough to give her copies of their paperwork to back it up. There was a stink...and families did move their own out, but those that knew what was going on just stepped up the visits and watched as the government tried to fix a big faux paux on this type of business.


  7. Debby Short

    Debby Short Registered User

    May 29, 2008
    Near Heathrow Airport

    my mum is about to go into a NH so i am sure we will come across some of these problems.

    However, my advise would be to write down all your concerns, arrange a meeting with either the Manager or senior carer, and take in what you have written so that you are sure you cover all points.

    make notes too, on their responses.

    At the end of the meeting give them a copy of your original list, so that they know what they have to sort out.

    you will feel much better doing it like this, because it will be verbal and written, and you will be calmer because you know you won't forget anything.

    Good luck
    Debby Short
  8. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Dear all, thanks for your responses and ideas. I have already written two letters to the manager, and had two meetings, at which all my queries were addressed and I was told they would be sorted, but they haven't been. Or if they have, it has only been temporary. Then back to normal.

    The place is generally okay. There is only one convenient alternative open to us, and that bothers me cos most of the residents there seem to stay in their rooms during the day. At mum's home, they are mostly all up and dressed (very rarely has there been a resident in night clothes), and I value this.

    The new Activities Co-ordinator is not up mum's street, but I can't complain about that, she is doing a good job.

    And as I have said before, mum's bedroom is where she can find it if she needs it, she has her own key to it, it is important.

    So you have to balance everthing. I suppose I could do her laundry, well I could of course, but it still isn't right. I will think about the CSCI, I don't want to "drop the home in it". They have a new manager, she is working her socks off, having had no induction, no management training, and is exhausted. She is a good woman, just not sure yet whether she is management material.

    Thanks all, just find it all undignified.


  9. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    Oh the trials and tribulations of missing laundry, I reckon clothes bedding etc get eaten in the machines.:eek: Bras used to come back with all the hooks and eyes ripped out of them.:rolleyes: Lost count of the number of new ones bought.... We now buy 'activity 'bras for Mum, no hooks and eyes.:D As for the disappearing knickers,:rolleyes: well, I'm sure they are being used as surplus stock for the unit, Mum doesn't wear them now as she is in pads. I'm currently chasing two pillowcases that having gone walkabout, have been for the last month.:eek: I tend to go and raid the laundry myself to look for missing items along with searching the laundry cupboard on the unit. If I don't then find things I speak to the manager, haven't yet got to the writing down stage, but if you've not had any joy by asking verbally I'd put it in writing. Sorry,:( nothing useful to give you but much much sympathy.:rolleyes:
  10. RobertE

    RobertE Registered User

    Jan 10, 2008

    Mum has been in residential care for just over three weeks now and in that time most of her socks have disappeared! Yesterday when I went she was down to two pairs of pants and one bra and she went in with at least 15 or 20 of the former and four of the latter.

    I spent ages laboriously stitching labels into everything so I am at a loss as to understand where all these things go. I'm assured that laundry is done daily but her basket was stuffed full when I visited yesterday. I can only assume that what might be happening at times is that mum is mistaking the laundry basket for a storage chest and putting clean clothes as well as soiled in it. It may be that I have to take the basket away and tell her to drop her clothes on the floor to be collected.

    That still doesn't explain the missing socks though!

    I just have to trust to luck that the missing items will eventually turn up. In the meantime I have bought replacements and will be getting my sewing box out this evening.
  11. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    West Yorkshire
    Dear Margaret
    When reading your thread about mums clothes(or lack of them) it really reminded me of Dads last care home. I didn't like making a fuss either, but when I got him out of it, I realised it was really just neglect, the lack of communication was also. It may be that the laundry system is the only thing thats gone pear shaped, so I dont what to get you upset with my deep-seated cynicism. I wouldn't be backward at coming forward with the home - I'd go in there - make a nuisance of yourself! They get away with it because we dont like challenging them. I found I got some results when the care home laison lady(social services) came to check up on a few things!
    You can also complain to CSCI about things like laundry etc. I posted a link to CSCI sometime ago in the resources section. Laundry is reported on in their inpsections I think.

    Your poor mum, she must feel awful without wearing a bra. She needs to be treated with dignity and it just aint happening
    take care
  12. merlin

    merlin Registered User

    Aug 2, 2006

    Hi All

    Have decided that bad laundry systems are endemic in all care homes. For a start the wash temp is too hot for hygene reasons I suppose then labels and print names vanish (because of this)in spite of being sown in and as for bras you've said it all. As a mere man I had not thought of activity bras I must explore that one.

    I now take a kit in my bag (or car)for every visit which includes spanners to adjust the wheelchair brakes and footrests, pliers to straighten out the bra hooks, travel iron and heat stick labels and marker pen for new and old labels. Needless to add things still vanish but not quite so quickley. Mark you there are a few gains as well like some strange trowsers have appeared. Only problem is they are size 16 short when my wife takes size 14 long!!

    Went totally ballistic recently when having been shopping in the morning and bought a new top for my wife and got her into it for the afternoon found the next day that the night shift had simply put all her cloths for washing when they put her night cloths on.
    Must say losing it seemed to have an effect, things are a bit better now, I suspect things do get washed too frequently as it is the easy option, whereas a judicious bit of sponging usually solves the problem for another few days.

    Try getting cross Margeret, you wont resolve it but things may improve.

  13. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    Hi Merlin

    I know we're not allowed to advertise on TP, and I have no connection with this company:D, but can highly recommended Sloggi bras, they are comfortable and seem to cope with the 'boil wash':eek: that the laundry use. I'm sure there must also be other activity bras on the market of equal quality.:D
    PS.(Hope this post doesn't contravene advertising rules mods;))
  14. hendy

    hendy Registered User

    Feb 20, 2008
    West Yorkshire
    Dear Margaret and Merlin
    What a brill idea with your 'kit bag' Merlin! Such a simple solution to the problems. I have to admit I carry spare toiletries and socks etc. but I hadn't thought of including hardware! The travel iron is a stroke of genius. Must add it to my bag of spare stuff.
    take care
  15. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    This laundry issue does seem to be a problem by the replies here. I have family and friends in the UK a friend had a similar problem with her mum's care home over there, where items of clothing just vanished.

    She wrote a letter to management asking them to address the matter.... she went on to say she would now keep a checklist of everything she had to replace along with receipts and would consider deducting replacement cost from the fees. The matter was addressed.... no more missing clothes. It worked for one it may work for others, fingers crossed. Regards, Taffy.
  16. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    I've just found this thread from reading another thread .

    Margaret what I can not understand is have you not approach the care home manger asking him what arrangement policy
    (s)he has in place with with the laundry staff that all people get the right clothes after they been wash ?

    If you did ask him what did (s)he say ?

    Now that sounds like a really good idea, if talking to manger has already happen & its still going on .

    In some of my mother respite care home they do an infantry of all her clothes when she arrives and when she leaves . also making all bra knickers clothes with a black felt tip pen on the inside labels of her clothes bras with her room number .

    The felt tip pen that they use does not wash of no matter how many time I wash them at home .

    Good luck tell us how you get on
  17. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005

    The laundry problem is an issue in Australia too - all Dad's clothes used to go missing, even his bedspread on one occasion...Mum resorted to sewing on name tags that were embroidered with his name so that the name wouldn't wash off...but still clothes constantly went missing and we'd show up and he'd be wearing some other person's clothes (no doubt the family of the owner of those clothes were wondering where they were too).:rolleyes:
    I wonder if they could put each person's clothes in a laundry bag with their name on it, that could hold the clothes both in the washers and dryers..a bag like a bra bag...I know you can buy big ones and I assume they wash clothes daily so one days wear of clothes should fit in such a bag...that way it would be easy for staff to return the clothes to the right person....???
  18. RobertE

    RobertE Registered User

    Jan 10, 2008
    More Laundry

    I bought mum her own laundry basket and labelled it but it seems that all the laundry is collected and washed together, rather than separately. I can appreciate that the practicalities of doing individual washing would be mind boggling and the problem isn't helped by the fact that there is no consistency/continuity with who does the laundry on a day to day basis but if everything is labelled (which mum's things are) I still don't understand how they don't find their way back to her room.

    At the time of writing this, her underwear has been returned, ditto vests. But there are no still no signs of those elusive socks!
  19. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I think laundry is an issue everywhere. I did my mother's laundry for 7 years before I finally stopped (just 3 months ago).

    What I found helps is getting to know the laundry staff. I know most of them by name, I would stop by & have a 5 minute chat with whoever was on shift. Personal relationships are the most important thing. Doesn't always work but I found it helped.

    I really like this approach too.:D:D
  20. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Must admit I am lucky and laundry is not an issue where Lionel is. I do think Joanne's comment is a valid one:

    I know the majority of staff at the care home, from cleaners to top admin. More to the point, they know me and I speak for Lionel.

    Although I do admit to having found one of the best homes around.
    (I know how lucky that makes us)

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