Home Care Diary – CQC

Tuesday My agency is being inspected by the Care Quality Commission. We got a text from the agency yesterday which said they’d had notification of an inspection and CQC Inspectors might want to talk to us. Apparently they’ve also got ‘experts by experience’ whatever that is. Well, all I can say is I hope they pick me because I could tell them a thing or two. I looked on the CQC website and it said they inspect organisations and judge whether they are safe, effective, responsive, caring and well-led and then give them a rating of outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. I don’t want to work for a company which is described as inadequate but what does that mean? I’m a good worker (I think), I’m caring and I respond well  – I always respond if I’m asked something and I think I’m effective at what I do and I’m safe although I did once stand on a chair to fix some curtains for Albert which I’m not supposed to do but it needed doing, and I think I’m effective, whatever that is. But why does it keep changing? I’ve been around long enough to remember the National Care Standards and the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSKY we called it) and now it’s the Care Quality Commission and they keep on changing the way they inspect – methodology they call it but nothing much seems to change for me. I mean I still get rubbish pay, I still don’t get paid for my travel or my travel time, I still have to do loads of 15 minute visits, I still get in trouble if I’m 5 minutes early or late and the Service Users, most of them, still don’t get the time they need, so what difference does it make if there’s a report on their website? It makes me so mad. ‘Go online,’ it says. ‘Download the report.’ Most of my Service Users can hardly see and if they could see they don’t have a computer and if they did have a computer they couldn’t use it and most of them wouldn’t want to so who cares anyway? I’ve read some CQC reports and I’ve never read one that wasn’t full of spelling mistakes and childish grammatical errors – even my Richard could do better than that and he’s 13 and watches You Tube all the time. I don’t think the Inspectors know diddly if I’m honest. Why don’t they spend a day with me, following me around? See how they like getting up at 5am to get the bus in the freezing cold and go and do 15 visits in a day, many of them 15 minutes to people who are blind and deaf and lonely and incontinent and racist or who put their hand up your skirt and their family tell you to clean up their dirty dishes while their Mum lies in her own piss and they play computer games? Come on Inspector, walk a mile in my shoes (if they’ll fit) and find out what things are really like. But they don’t want to do that. Instead they send out a questionnaire or ask you if you know what safeguarding means or have you had any training in the Mental Capacity Act. What a waste of time. But what will really change? Some carers are good and some aren’t, some are caring and some aren’t, some Service Users are nice and some aren’t, that’s life isn’t it, you’re dealing with human beans, as Albert says. I don’t think it’s the agency’s fault, if I’m honest. They seem to have a pretty impossible job. My agency delivers 3000 hours of service a week; if an average visit is half an hour that means they’re organising 6000 visits a week. Well, if you have problems with 1% of those visits that’s 60 visits a week where someone is left potentially in a life threatening situation – they have a fall or a heart attack or don’t get their medication on time or don’t get a drink or something to eat or they’re left in bed for 24 hours with their catheter leaking all over the bed-clothes. I mean it’s impossible isn’t it. Service Users are always saying to me ‘the agency is a shambles, I used to be in business, I could show them how it should be done,’ but I don’t think they could really. God knows I wouldn’t want a job in the office. Why would you do a job like that? The same reason I do this I suppose, the same reason anyone does anything really, it’s my job, it’s what I know, it’s what I do. Meg says I should get a job in Tesco but I wouldn’t do that. Ping, ping, ping. ‘Have you got your own bags?’ Ping, ping, ping. ‘Enter your Pin number please.’ Ping, ping, ping. ‘Sorry this doesn’t have a bar code.’ Ping, ping, ping. I don’t want to measure out my life in pings, thank you very much. Wednesday I’ve been interviewed! It was exciting. I told them about my pay and the short visits and not being paid for travel time but I couldn’t tell if they were interested. They asked me what I knew about the Mental Capacity Act and if I knew how to raise a safeguarding alert and they asked me about the managers at the agency. I said they were all right. Well they are. Anyway they’ve employed me for 12 years. I asked them if they wanted to spend the day with me seeing what it was really like on the front line but they said they didn’t have time, they had to write up their report. They told me the report would come out in about 3 month’s time and I could download it from their website. I can’t wait.

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