You and your loved one have the right to always feel comfortable when you are with your hired personal care assistant when they are supporting you or your loved one in or around your home. This article covers how a personal care assistant should treat you from the first meeting to the last, as well as how to go about putting in a complaint if that becomes necessary.
Most importantly, you should expect your potential personal care assistant to always treat you and/or your loved one with respect and dignity. Notice how they greet you and your loved one when you meet them for the first time. Observe how they talk to you during the interview - are they polite, kind, and compassionate? These are great indicators of whether the candidate is right for you. (If you are at the hiring stage, please visit our previous blog post, to find out what else you should look for in a potential personal care assistant during the interview stage.)
Within the role, personal care assistants should still have the same qualities that they showed during the interview. On top of that, they should:
- Ring the doorbell, or knock, and announce their arrival to you or your loved one before entering your home.
- Know where the spare keys are safely kept so that they can enter your home (if necessary).
- Keep any entry codes to your house confidential.
- Know what they need to do if they cannot enter your home.
- Know what they need to do if your loved one has had an accident.
Whether your (or your loved one’s) carer is hired directly by yourselves, through a platform like UKCIL, or managed through a carer agency, it is important - and helpful to you in the long run - to ensure that you outline your expectations and make them known to any PA who might end up working for you; by detailing these requirements in your job posting, discussing when you meet for an interview, and continually providing feedback as and when your own expectations are met and aren’t met.
Complaining About The Homecare You Are Receiving
Regardless of whether your council hires for you, you hire your PA through a carer agency, or you directly hire your assistants yourself, there will always be a way to complain. The Council has a formal complaints procedure and the agency you use will most likely be subject to their own terms and conditions, which will enable you to complain freely if you wish to do so. If you are hiring and managing your PA yourself, or for your loved one, you will have more responsibility to feedback openly, honestly, and in a timely fashion - but you will also be able to exercise more control because you might decide to replace them by looking for a new personal care assistant.
You may want to complain about your PA for several reasons, the most common being that your personal care assistant is:
- Consistently arriving late and leaving early.
- Incorrectly or improperly giving you your medicines.
- Leaving your home untidy after they’ve visited you.
- Caring for you poorly such as dressing you wrongly.
Complaints that are handled through your local council or through an agency need specific information with as much detail as possible about what happened and the reason behind the complaint. Try to remember staff names and the dates on which the events took place. If complaining to your local council, they must provide you with an independent advocate, who is there to speak up for you and on your behalf, to help you make the complaint, should you need one.
If you are unhappy with the way your local council or the agency handles your complaint, you can take it further to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, where an independent person will look into your complaint.
Other avenues you can go down include the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which checks social care services in England but they do encourage you to make a formal complaint to your local council or the agency before raising a concern with them.
If you wish to complain about a PA who has been sent to you by a carer agency, you can, of course, do so on an ad hoc, informal basis; but the specifics of what happened and things like the dates of events are always helpful to everyone involved, so make a note of these things early. Also, re-read the terms of your contract with the agency so that you know your rights fully.
If you’ve hired in a relatively new and innovative way, yourself, directly and independently, through a platform like UKCIL, you will be responsible for managing your PA. In which case, it is a good idea to first think about what you want the outcome or resolution to be: for instance, would you like to replace the concerned individual or do you wish to feedback and for things to change. It is advisable to give someone a second chance after you’ve told them where you think they’ve let you down. However, in reality, this may not always be practical, for example, if both of you feel uncomfortable after discussing the failure(s) of the PA or because of the gravity of the failure itself.