So sorry, but the computer says ‘no’

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As a Home Help working for Derbyshire County Council, I read with interest the aptly named ‘Caring in Crisis’ in Times Talk in the Derbyshire Times.

The introduction of the new computer system has indeed created an environment lacking in care or consideration for the choices, needs or preferences of our clients.

We used to visit the same clients at the same time everyday, giving them the routine and continuity they needed. This computer system produces rotas which sends us to people at different times every day, a morning, lunch or tea call can vary in any given week by as much as 2 hours.

This week I have had lunch calls to the same person at 11.30am, 12.35pm and 1.45pm on my rota, doesn’t everyone deserve lunch at the same time every day?

I am being sent to care for people I have never been to before, performing personal and intimate care, difficult enough when they can’t tell me what they want, if they have dementia.

I only have a Care Plan to work to, requently years old, out of date, often non-existent, then I just do the best I can to care for them.

My colleagues and myself have become accustomed to adjusting these rotas wherever possible to accommodate the preferences of our clients, knowing how distressing a change of routine can be for them.

Today, I received a letter from my manager telling me I must adhere to the call times stipulated on my rotas.

So I am writing to apologise.

If I wish to keep my job, I can no longer get you up in the morning, prepare your lunch or tea, nor put you to bed at the time you would prefer, but must do so at whatever time the computer says. I am so very sorry.

Name and address supplied

l Editor’s Note: We would be interested to hear other views from key workers on this issue.

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