I had a new carer this evening, something I suspect will be happening a lot in the next few weeks as my regular carer of the last several years moved away at the weekend. It went a lot better than I expected, I was very nervous, but it was ok. I'm looking forward to Friday, however, when I should have someone who last did my care more than three years ago (by my count) but who I always got on well with. Familiar faces are always good even if there will be a lot of the new carer things like showing where things are as well. Those are always easier to cope with when I know the person however.
Two things strike me about having a new carer tonight. One slightly serious, one just amusing. Neither are specific to this new carer alone, I've had them happen before. I was just reminded of them by her this evening. This entry is not intended as a dig at this new carer. If I ever see her again I think we will get on well. My care agency do have a habit, however, of sending me someone and I don't see them again for about six months. As I no longer have a regular it's less likely to happen, IMO.
1) A lot of the clients they go too they give or prompt medication. I was under the impression that was because a lot of the clients in question can't/won't/forget to take their meds. Obviously, I self medicate and my carers don't do that for me. But tonight for not the first time I got asked "am I supposed to give or prompt any meds?"
Now, fair enough this carer didn't know and it's better that she asked rather than just wondering. If you ask me however (and you didn't but it's my blog...) that's actually kind of dangerous. If the reason for the assistance with meds is due to memory loss or difficulty in knowing when/how to medicate for example (to say nothing of noncompliance) and the carer is sent in not knowing if they need to do this well it's just a mess which could result in either lack of medication or overmedication (either situation could be potentially very serious). It's a situation which Elizabeth has written about many times with her carers.
Obviously it's a training issue and it is one that doesn't apply to me. But it's one that really gets my back up because I have some very good friends who need this support and maybe aren't able to advocate for themselves for well.
And that leads me to point 2) of the things I thought of after having a new carer this evening.
Once, a very long time ago, there was a carer sent to me by this agency who didn't know my name - she was sent last minute and just given an address. Ever since then I've made it a point to tell new carers my name when they introduce themselves. They should be given an "About Emma" sheet the coordinators wrote before they come (although its crap and very out of date in my opinion) which covers what they do and stuff like that including what you prefer to be called. It doesn't seem to be getting dished out but to be honest, talking to them about writing my own is on my to do list (tentatively I've heard they won't let me write one to replace theirs but they will let me write an additional one but I need to check that with the powers that be). I'm not supposed to have read their sheet but I have and it's... amusing. In an annoying sort of way. Apparently "Emma is a delightful girl who enjoys a chat." I've been campaigning for years to have that replaced with "Emma is a stroppy bitch" but nothing doing.
Anyway just as this new carer was leaving today after being here an hour she went "What's your name?" All they'd told her was I was Ms Crees. I could swear I'd replied to her "hi I'm..." with "oh hi I'm Emma" but maybe not.
Still, it's not really surprising that she didn't know what she was meant to do for me with regards to meds (or rather not do) if they didn't even tell her that I'm Emma.
So, just in case there was anyone here who didn't know my name. Hi. I'm Emma.