Paying for someone to visit your loved in care home when you cannot?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by sueorbell, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. sueorbell

    sueorbell Registered User

    Mar 15, 2010
    California, USA
    My sister and I live in France and USA respectively, we visit Mum in her UK EMI Nursing Home every 2/3 months. She has been loosing weight, and as we don't get to see her as often as we need we are about the employ a carer from an outside agency to pop into the care home twice a week, and then email us. Does anyone else on the forum do this? And if so have you felt it was worthwhile?

  2. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    Sue I recently have employed a companion for mum 3 times a week 1 and half hours each time. It is still new and mum doesnt appear to be impressed.
    However mine was to give mum company and encourage her to eat etc .
  3. theoh

    theoh Registered User

    Nov 11, 2015
    Hi Sue

    My daughter has a friend who is a NHS Carer and he spends his days driving round stopping for the 1/2 hr visits. He notes it is never enough time, he is supposed to say help with feeding/showering etc and says mostly all they want to do is have someone sit and talk to them. He spends time with them when he can and shows them silly videos from YouTube, plays music they like and things like that - all through the wonders of a smart phone!

    Life is not easy and I personally think it is a good idea it will give you and your sister that extra peace of mind and someone for your mum to have a chat with or just their company.

    Give it a try see how it works for you all you can always change or amend as you progress.
  4. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    Sue, I could only visit my father, who had moved from the UK, once every six to eight weeks (and even that killed my career.) His friends would visit him and provide feedback to me. In all honesty, it didn't help at all. If they said he was in a bad mood or not eating, as he stopped doing in his last month, there was precious little I could do from 1000 miles away except get stressed and worry.
  5. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    If you just want somebody to call and see her, have a chat, and then report back to you a befriender might suffice.

    You could try local churches or charities.

    National charities also offer the service in some areas eg


    You could ask
    if they know of any local befriending services.
  6. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    Whether a paid person or a befriender - personally, I think it's a good idea to have someone calling to your mum regularly. Not even from the keeping her company & giving her a visitor standpoint alone - but also from the keeping an eye on her care, and raising any issues if there is something she spots point of view. Nursing Homes are busy places, and the staff are busy with other residents to see to. When my husband was alive, several times, I was the one who spotted the very beginnings of an infection starting when I was in with him. The staff would have seen it - but possibly not until it was obvious.
  7. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    You have to be very sure of the visitor -- occasionally my dad's friends intervened on certain matters and not always helpfully -- sometimes their interventions caused me more problems because they simply didn't understand the illness, nor did they have access to everything the doctor had told me. It was hard for me to telephone the staff directly because there was a language barrier and other problems, which hopefully the OP will not have - but when I got hold of them, it was almost always more productive than the reports from friends.
    Here's one incident: a woman suddenly started visiting my dad - she wasn't a close friend but I was told she was unhappy in her personal life and wanted do-gooding distraction. Because he wasn't eating much, she began making food at home and bringing it in and he would eat at least some of it. Problem was that his swallow reflex was going -- I was concerned about what she was bringing in and had to ask the nursing home to try to stop her doing it. Despite this, he got aspiration pneumonia and I will never know if it was something she gave him to eat - not properly blended for his medical situation - that caused it. So, with every good intention, she caused me a lot of extra grief and possibly caused him a lot of extra pain.
  8. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    I have wondered about a service like this, as I have in effect been acting as a care co-ordinator for my mum and dad-in-law for the past 6 months (alongside some actual, physical caring). I have been the main liaison point between the visiting carers, medical people and the rest of my family. It has been quite time-consuming and I have found that I need to know a lot of details, to avoid giving wrong instructions or information. I wonder if there is enough of a demand for this kind of service that people would be willing to pay for it? Also, would a charity support a service like this if it was a fundraiser for them? I'm wondering if it's possible to do this for a living, as if so I could probably take on another one or two 'clients' alongside my parents-in-law. NB I'm not touting for business - I just want to explore this idea.

    Thoughts appreciated! Thank you.
  9. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    My mum has had a befriender from social services for a couple of years now. This has worked very well and the lady has been a true friend to mum. She still visits the care home and mum very much looks forward to seeing her.
  10. sueorbell

    sueorbell Registered User

    Mar 15, 2010
    California, USA
    Thanks for all your replies. We have asked the "care agency" to find candidates for us based on the following job description. Will keep you in touch with how things go.

    1. Visit for 3 hours, twice weekly. One weekend visit. From 12:00 to 3:00 pm
    2. To feed Mum her lunch on those visits. This includes cutting up Mum’s food, and spoon feeding her. If she wanders during her meal, take food along and settle her somewhere else to eat or persuade her back to the dining room to finish
    3. Play music, and possibly sing with her in her room. We provide CD and music that Mum likes
    4. Walk with her, if possible take her walking in other wings of the home for change of scene
    5. Take her down to lobby café for special cup of tea and something to eat (home provides selection of items)
    6. Be kind, hold her hand, hold her arm when walking, be her “special person” in our absence
    7. Be observant of what is going on in the home
    8. Check in with Ward Nurse to see how Mum is doing, weekly
    9. By their twice weekly presence at the Care Home form good working relationships with care staff and relatives of other residents
    10. Send brief email to Mum's daughters weekly
    11. Occasional telephone calls with daughters, as situation demands
    12. Meet with us (briefly) when we are in UK visiting mum
  11. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    Surrey, UK
    This looks like a clear and comprehensive job description. I am sure you will have no problem finding an agency that is willing to take on this responsibility for your mum.

    LadyA makes a valid point about looking out for signs of issues almost before they become big issues, and I feel this is a very important part of the role you describe, but it's only implicit in the job description. I would suggest this needs to be drawn out in the interview process (I imagine you would do this by phone). I would recommend interviewing at least a couple of agencies before selecting one, and ask them to describe their procedures for dealing with emerging issues and incidents. For example, what would they do if they suspected your mum had a UTI?

    Another thing to be aware with with care agencies, is that they may promise to meet your requirements, but may actually not be able to do so. In your mum's case, I imagine continuity would be highly important. You may be better off with an agency that specialises in social aspects of care (e.g. outings) as opposed to physical care (e.g. washing, dressing). Ask about their staff turnover rates, as this will indicate their ability to build and maintain a relationship with your mum.

    Good luck, and do let us know how you get on.
  12. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    I have thought this would be something useful

    The only thing I might add to the job description is to facilitate skype communication Or to take a photo at each visit. Sometimes a picture says what words cannot.

    Just a thought.

    Have to say that in the preconsideration of when a care home might be necessary I have moved down from the most expensive provision that money could buy to something a bit cheaper and using the excess money to fund additional one to one support. We don't need it yet but its helpful to know what you might do.
  13. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Mancmum beat me to it, I was going to suggest Skyping also. Photos are a great idea as well. Sometimes technology can be helpful.

    I would suggest that in addition to interviewing by phone, you also do a Skype interview; that might give you more of a "feel" for the person, since you cannot do it in person.
  14. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Did you checked if your mother has nap time? (My mom has lunch at 11:00 and nap time is from 12:00 to 14:00. )

    I would ask CH about activities time.

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