Carer Resources

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Whether you are a professional carer, or are an unpaid carer looking after a loved one, there is no doubt that it can often feel quite isolating and overwhelming when trying to find information to help you deliver the best possible care.

There is a plethora of external resources out there that can assist care workers in their role – if you know where to look!

Bright Care’s Own Resources

Bright Care provides continuous learning and development opportunities to our staff, and we are happy to open up our considerable resources to our clients and their families to help and support them on a practical basis.

  1. In House Training.  We have a dedicated Training Manager and our in-house training facilities are fully equipped with all the latest presentation and moving and handling equipment to allow us to deliver both theoretical and practical training.
  2. In House Library. Each of our offices have an information library with a range of resources with information on various subjects and medical conditions that often affect older people.  These resources are open to both our staff and our clients and their families.   We even have our own Our ‘Bright Care Cook Book’ which contains many simple recipes and menu ideas for care workers and staff.
  3. Specialised Specific Issue Training. We often run smaller face-to-face training sessions and tutorials on specific issues of care that may not have been addressed in-depth at our induction training sessions.  Such courses include, Dementia: Promoting Excellence, Catheter Care and Stoma Care.
  4. E-Learning.  Our staff have access to a full range of online E-learning courses from First Aid Awareness to Adult Support and Protection.

External resources for Carers

There are a huge amount of organisations who have developed excellent websites, full of resources, advice and events that have proved invaluable to our staff in enriching the quality of our clients’ lives.  Here are a few of the best…

  1. The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is the regulator for the social service workforce in Scotland. They protect the public by registering social service workers, setting standards for their practice, conduct, training and education and by supporting their professional development. Where people fall below the standards of practice and conduct they can investigate and take action.
  2. The Care Inspectorate website hosts an online resource library with articles on many topics.
  3. Alzheimer Scotland provides a wide range of specialist services for people with dementia and their carers. They offer personalised support services, community activities, information and advice, at every stage of the dementia journey.
  4. Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland have an enormous amount of excellent resources on all aspects on Chest, Heart and Stroke issues, including the management of these health issues, the road to recovery, and also lots of excellent resources for the children of people living with these health issues.
  5. Playlist for Life  harnesses the power of music and focuses on connecting people living with Dementia to musical memories.
  6. Carers Link work with carers throughout the East Dunbartonshire area providing tailored support, advocacy services, and links to events such as Dementia Friendly Opera Performances, Chair Yoga, Mindfulness, Autism Awareness and a Legal Matters clinic.
  7. Stirling Universities Dementia Centre is an international centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia. Their website has lots of suggestions on how we can more effectively work with our clients with Dementia, from developing skills to motivating people, encouraging independence, stimulating mental function, talking, reading, games etc.
  8. Care for Carers is a voluntary organisation based in Edinburgh which provides support services to all carers, and offers short breaks through their “Stepping Out” service to carers from across Scotland.

The Rewards of being a Care Worker

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By Eliza Esposito

“Caring for vulnerable people and people in need, carries a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment that only comes when you engage in helping others, and in the act of giving.”

Being a Care Worker can often be viewed as a challenging role which does not get any social recognition, and a role where financial remuneration does not always reflect the many responsibilities involved.

For me, the rewards of being a Care Worker go well beyond that: caring for vulnerable people and people in need, carries a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment that only comes when you engage in helping others, and in the act of giving. Whether we are caring for children, people with learning disabilities, older people, or any other groups in need of support, these are the reasons why, as carers, we get out of bed every morning, stay motivated throughout the day, and end our day with a smile!

For a Care Worker, no two days are the same! Supporting and caring for others comes in many forms and shapes: whether it’s helping with housekeeping, personal care, making meals, providing support to get out in the community or companionship, I feel my contribution helps someone else live their life with dignity and to the person’s full potential. Knowing that without my help, they would have not been able to carry out everyday tasks that we take for granted, fills me with a great sense of accomplishment and fills my day with purpose. Making a positive difference to someone else’s day, makes my day!

On a deeper level, I have become aware that my intervention, often in such small ways has the power to enable people to make personal choices, and to keep their identity as individuals, as I support them to choose what to wear or what to eat, whether to stay in or to go out. Promoting and supporting the independence of someone who, through physical weakness, disability or age, would have to give up their right to express their choices and preferences, is a privilege and is extremely rewarding. And the ultimate outcome is that I feel I’m helping another human being grow and make progress in their journey.

Another great aspect of a Care Worker’s life is the daily face-to-face meaningful contact with people. In a society where everybody is racing around, struggling to keep up with life’s demands and commitments, and where very few can afford to make time for others, a Care Worker’s role is centred on human interaction and on building trustworthy relationships with people around you. That includes the Clients you support, as well as your network of co-workers and other social care professionals who will always be seeking to support you in many ways. So, if the Office environment is not for you, or you are sick of computers and technology, working as a Carer will fill your days with a much deeper meaning.

Another valuable side of Caring for others, is that through every big or small challenge, it continually encourages me to develop my own personal and interpersonal skills. Looking after the needs of vulnerable individuals has enriched my life experience, as I learn something new every day. It has improved my decision-making and problem solving skills and has helped me grow in confidence and feel good about using my natural talents and dispositions.

Overall, a Care Worker is the kind of person who believes that we all share a duty and an interest in making this world a better and kinder place. We thrive in a society that is built on mutual support and respect, and that values diversity. Therefore the feeling of giving something back to our community is a priceless reward, as we feel we carry the responsibility of being a positive example that inspires others to do the same for future generations.

“A Care Worker is the kind of person who believes that we all share a duty and an interest in making this world a better and kinder place. We thrive in a society that is built on mutual support and respect, and that values diversity. Therefore the feeling of giving something back to our community is a priceless reward, as we feel we carry the responsibility of being a positive example that inspires others to do the same for future generations.”



A day in the life of a Companion Carer

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By Yvonne Tough

My name is Yvonne and I am a Companion Carer for Bright Care which means I visit with senior citizens in the comfort of their own homes.  I love my job as no two days are ever the same. I have made great relationships with both colleagues and clients, and the journeys I can have with those people are incredible. I have also been given the opportunity to train in house and learn new professional skills. I am now working towards a Certificate of Higher Education in Adult Health and Social Care with the Open University. This brings theoretical underpinning to the work I undertake for Bright Care on a day to day basis.

A typical day can begin at 8.30am or later in the day, ending sometimes at 9pm at night, but it is flexible enough to work around my family, and my commitments as a Brownie Leader. Every person I visit has their own specific needs which is the most rewarding part of being a Companion Carer: nurturing the specific needs of the individual person.

From personal care, such as assisting with washing, dressing and medication to taking the client shopping; From a bit of light housework and tidying up whilst keeping one ear open in case I’m needed, I enjoy carrying out these tasks to the best of my ability so that the client can have the peace of mind that everything is being taken care of and they can get on with enjoying the morning newspapers with their favourite cuppa or meal.

A great many of my visits are simply being a companion for the senior citizen and chatting about their interests, watching TV with them or reminiscing about old times and childhood memories! Sometimes for that one senior citizen, you may be the only person they see most of the day or week and if I have learned anything the time you give them means the world to them. I have learned so much about people and their lives without asking too many questions, just by listening and being there.

Where else can you get so much variety, laughter and exercise all in one job?!



What it takes to be a Companion Carer

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By Jemima Vetha

Caring for elderly people is a role that requires many natural skills, skills that are not easily taught at College or at Training Courses. Empathy, patience, good listening and a cheerful attitude are a few key personality traits that are essential to provide meaningful support to an older person and to create a relevant and lasting relationship with them.

Empathy is the ability to understand someone else’s feelings and to put yourself in their shoes, whatever the situation. Older people might get worried or anxious about things that we consider irrelevant or unimportant. They might be feeling saddened or frustrated when physically unable to do something or to remember a name. It is very important for a carer to be compassionate and to be able to share, not dismiss, the older person’s worries, sadness or frustration and offer appropriate reassurance and emotional support.

Patience is an essential quality when supporting someone who might have become very slow through age and physical disability. Walking, eating or getting dressed can all turn into very long and time consuming activities. Even talking can be a difficult process. It is important not to rush elderly people through any of these activities and not to make them feel inadequate or embarrassed by trying to do things for them. A carer’s role is to promote a person’s independence through appropriate and dignified support.

An elderly person has many years of history behind them. In fact, they have a lot more life behind them than ahead of them. Their memories are very precious to them, they take them back to a time when they felt strong, able, loved and purposeful. A good carer has the willingness to listen carefully and actively to all the stories from the past, to hear about the people and events that coloured and filled their older client’s life: reminiscing is good for the soul of a person who feels that the happiest part of their life is gone.

And finally, a smile is the best gift you can bring into someone’s home! Being cheerful can turn around the mood and the whole day of the person you are looking after. Older people might live in a once busy house that is now empty and quiet, they might have a long, lonely day ahead of them and they might feel overwhelmed with aches, pains and worries. Going in with a smile and a positive attitude will without doubt lift their mood and brighten their day!

A carer, therefore, has the power to make a real difference in a vulnerable person’s life, simply by using and sharing their natural talents, in what is a very rewarding and undoubtedly enjoyable role!

Our 5 Simple Steps to Happy Carers!

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It’s not easy to become a Bright Care Companion Carer! Our selection, interview and training programmes are rigorous and aim to identify the best of the best; those people that we are genuinely excited to work with on a daily basis.  We only hire people who have a great attitude, and are warm, genuine and caring people and we are committed to keeping them happy, so that in turn, they will keep our clients happy and well looked after.

Here’s how we do it…

  1. Know your Carer

A Care Package that works well is built on a strong foundation, by finding the right match of Companion Carer to Client. Our office based teams spend a great deal of time throughout the interview and training process getting to know our Companion Carers on a personal level, and develop an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and personal preferences.  We always want our Companion Carers to work in the way which makes the most of their talents and skills, and which helps them feel fulfilled. This means we spend a great deal of time in our selection process when assigning them to clients to ensure that both the Carer and the Client feel comfortable together and a great relationship can flourish.


  1. Praise where praise is due

Our countless focus groups and feedback sessions from staff across the organisation have all highlighted how important it is to our staff to have a sense of job satisfaction and to know whether or not they are doing a good job.

We receive so much positive feedback from clients, it is often easy to assume our teams out in the field already know what a great job they do and how much they are appreciated – but this is not always the case. We never underestimate the power of a short phone call to someone to say thanks or a courtesy email offering up some positive feedback about how well they are doing, and any compliments that we receive about our Companion Carers are recorded on their personnel file and are always passed on to the carer, with our thanks.


  1. Respecting the Work / Life Balance

The type of people who are most suited to working in the caring profession are likely to be very family orientated, caring people. As such, we recognise that it is vital that we allow our staff space and support to ensure that they have a good work/life balance. Whether its giving someone the flexibility to attend their child’s school play or to take a relative to a hospital appointment, this sends a strong message to our staff that we recognise that there is more to life than work, work , work!


  1. Nurture and Support

Caring for others on a one-to-one basis out in the community can often be lonely and isolating, and we recognise that a strong relationship and a sense of support from line managers and the rest of the office based team and other carers is critical. Any actions that build trust, loyalty and a sense of being truly valued by your line manager is well worth the investment.  We take time to connect with our Care Staff through regular formal supervisions and informal chats to stay connected to see what is going on in their lives.

We often find carers are not interested in ‘career development’ in the traditional sense. They are not looking for a ladder to climb but are committed to developing their own skills and knowledge base and are happy to actively engage in all the additional training and support that we provide.


  1. Rewards

Rewards do not necessarily need to be financial to show appreciation.  At Bright Care, all compliments received are passed on to the Companion Carer, and going the extra mile is rewarded by awarding a “Carer of the Month” and a “Carer of the Year”.  It’s the little things, like receiving a card to wishing a ‘happy birthday’, or to ‘get well soon’, or perhaps ‘good luck’ for a driving test or exam, or even a simple ‘thinking of you’ card when we know that times are tough; this is what sets Bright Care apart as an employer, and as a care provider.

It is, however, still vitally important that staff are paid well for their work and efforts. Historically, the skills and effort involved in caring for older people has been undervalued, and unfortunately, carers wages have reflected this.

It will take time for the value of a good carer to be recognised, and for salary scales across the industry to reflect this. Unfortunately, with increasing wages come increasing costs to people who purchase care, but we strongly feel that there should be a firm commitment from employers to pay staff well in proportion to the responsibility and challenge that they have in their role and play their part in improving pay rates in the industry.

5 things I wish I knew before I started my business…

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Never underestimate the value of being an employee in someone else’s business.

How will you know how to relate your employees if you were not once one yourself? You will also have a better understanding of what great employees look like and how they behave if you were once aspiring to be one yourself!

As someone who started a business fairly early on in life, I now know the person you work for in your early years of being an employee is profoundly more important than the organisation you work for or what that organisation does. Seek out great business leaders, go and work for them and learn from them.


Focus your business to be brilliant at just one thing.

‘Jack of all trades, Master of none’ is never a compelling marketing message. Figure out what one thing you can be brilliant at and put all your efforts into honing your product or service to this end to the exclusion of all else.

It takes an unwavering conviction in your business model and market position to be prepared to turn down potential business that does not fit with your core business model. However, the rewards are there if you can stay true to your chosen expertise. Watch your business gradually rise above the noise of the competition, when you stick to your guns.


Sell, Sell, Sell, in a good way.

‘Selling’ is not a dirty word. No sales, no business. Get out there and build real face to face relationships and demonstrate to people you are a business owner of character and integrity. More sales will fix most things or at least give you the breathing space you need to address other issues. The more you speak to and engage with potential customers the more you will understand what they want. This in turn will help you hone your business offering and expertise.


Hire new people before you actually need them.

Be bold in your belief that you can make your business grow and as such keep hiring even if you think you don’t need anyone new yet.   by the time you have found the right person, waited a month for them to finish up a previous post, got the trained up and contributing usefully to your business, 4-6 months will have passed.

Its never a nice feeling to work hard to win new business but then feel you are unable to take it on with confidence due to a shortage of the right people.

Never let thoughts of the cost of a new starts wages get in the way. ‘A’ grade employees are always ‘free’. They will always pay for themselves and more in what they can bring to your company. They don’t need managed or supervised and they are always totally committed to the success of the business.


Never shy away from crucial conversations with employees who are not coming up to the mark.

Everyone knows that people are your greatest asset and recruiting people of the right calibre, attitude and fit is essential to long term success. However, as with most things in life this is far easier said than done.

Many well-meaning business owners at all levels put up with the wrong people for too long and may even try, sometimes for years, to bring someone round to their way of thinking – usually unsuccessfully. You will always be pleased you called time on such endeavours. Your ‘A’ grade staff (if you have any left at this point!) will thank you when you take decisive action to move ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade people on.

An ‘A’ grade manager will have long term vision for your business and will hire people who they think have the capacity to grow and develop under their tutelage to become even better than they were.


Tips for Handling the Medication Needs of a Loved One

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Looking after the medication needs of another person is a huge responsibility, and can often become quite a complicated tasks.  Here are our top tips on successfully assisting someone manage their medication needs.  If in doubt, always ask the pharmacist, GP or call NHS24 on “111” or in an emergency call “999”.


When dealing with the medication needs of another person, (or even yourself!), it is important to be knowledgeable about the patient’s condition, the type and purpose of medications that have been prescribed, and what to expect in the way of side effects.  This ensures that you will know at the earliest opportunity when something goes wrong.

Here are some tips on being knowledgeable about medications:

  • Ask questions! Have a discussion with the GP about the medication that is being prescribed, it’s purpose, and anticipated side-effects, and double check that it is not contra-indicated for any other medications that may have been prescribed, and any other remedies that you know the patient may be taking, e.g. St. John’s Wort or other homeopathic remedies.
  • Discuss with the dispensing pharmacist if there are any specific instructions on how/when the medicine should be taken. Always keep the written information that accompanies prescriptions safe for future reference.  If you intend to decant the medication into a pill dispenser you should also keep the original packaging.
  • Ask the pharmacist how the medication should be stored; only ever refrigerate the drug if directed to do so.
  • Ask the GP or pharmacist if the drug is addictive or if it is common that people become dependent on it.
  • You can ask the GP to direct the District Nurse to do a home visit and teach your loved one about their medication, and how to take it safely.
  • Be aware of pharmacy opening hours, and what out of hours/emergency provisions they may have in place.


With all the complicated names of medications these days, never mind the variable doses, it’s easy to lost track of what should be taken and when! Here are some simple tips to make sure that you don’t lose your way.

  • Keep a record of what has been prescribed, when and by whom, in a file. If possible, keep the original packaging and information sheets with this record for ease of reference.  When a person goes on holiday or is admitted to hospital, take this file with you, together with the prescribed drugs in case the hospital does not have them to hand in their own pharmacy.
  • If forgetfulness is a problem, or perhaps there are multiple people involved in the care of your loved one, create a chart that lists the days of the week, the medications prescribed, and the time they are to be taken. Cross off the drug each time it is taken, or record if and when any medications were missed and what action was taken (e.g. if NHS24 or GP was called for advice and what steps were taken).  Here is an example of a Good Medication Chart that you can download and use.  If a person is admitted to hospital, it is helpful to take this with you.
  • Make use of identification bracelets etc. for allergies or chronic conditions.
  • Keep a list of drugs on the refrigerator or other equally visible place, and, if necessary ensure that all family members have an up to date copy of the list in case of emergency. This could be done electronically and saved to a mobile phone, or a printed copy could be kept in a wallet or purse.
  • It is always best to keep your business with one reliable local pharmacy only as any irregularities in prescriptions can be caught and managed early. Ask about their home delivery services if you think that this would be of benefit.


Improper use of medications can have disastrous consequences so safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when dealing with the medication needs of yourself and others.

  • Ensure that all medication is kept in original containers. If blister packs or dispensers are used, make sure a note is kept describing each pill so that they can be easily identified.
  • Ensure that if easy open containers are to be used, that these are kept well out of the reach of children who may live in the home, or are likely to visit.
  • If necessary, ask the pharmacist for large print labels, or keep a magnifying glass near to the medication so as to ensure that labels can be read with ease. Think about a reminder label on the boxes, reminding them to put on their glasses!
  • When filling a prescription, check that the name of the drug on the label matches the prescription form before leaving the pharmacy.
  • Never share medication with others.
  • Ensure pills are dispensed and taken in a well-lit room. Pills should not be kept near the bed in the event of the wrong medication or a wrong combination being taken by a sleepy patient!
  • Discard all medicines that have expired or that have no labels. This can be done by handing them into any pharmacy for safe destruction.  Do not simply flush down the toilet or throw in the bin.
  • Do not mix alcohol and drugs.
  • Consult with the GP or pharmacist if over-the-counter remedies are required to ensure that they are not contra-indicated with anything that has been prescribed.
  • When buying over-the counter remedies, always check the packaging for signs of tampering. If a seal has been broken or it looks like the box has been opened, give it to the pharmacist and select another.
  • Discuss any adjustments that may have to be made to keep the person safe, e.g. not standing up too quickly to avoid dizziness etc.



Older People and Driving

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Driving is a very sensitive issue for most older people. The more objective the family is about their driving skills and abilities the more successful the family will be in convincing the older person to limit their driving or stop driving altogether.

There’s no legal age at which you must stop driving. You can decide when to stop as long as you don’t have any medical conditions that affect your driving. You can find out more about how changes to your health can affect your driving and how to give up your licence, if needed on the DVLA website.

There is a direct correlation between driving skills and medications in the body. Many medications prescribed for older people can impair driving skills. Over the counter medications can have the same effect. Alcohol combined with medication can be lethal.

Yearly vision exams are crucial to driving activity.

  • Glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy are the most common eye conditions associated with aging.
  • As people age, peripheral vision is reduced.
  • As people age, they may have trouble telling different colors apart
  • As people age, their eyes are more sensitive to bright lights
  • As people age, night driving becomes more difficult

If problems exist, encourage the older person to consider the safety of others as they make the decision to change their driving habits.

A complete medical exam may be necessary if there are indicators that driving performance is changing.

  • Some diseases produce loss of consciousness
  • Loss of range of motion in neck, spine and limbs inhibit a person’s ability to check the rear and sides of the road
  • Weakness in the arms and legs can interfere with steering, braking and accelerating
  • Eye-hand-foot coordination changes
  • Reflexes change
  • Fatigue affects driving

Your GP is required to report and explain findings that relate to driving skills to the DVLA. This is why it is a good idea to let the GP inform your relative that it is time to consider other forms of transportation. It takes the burden off you, the family member.


How to Negotiate Driving Privileges

The following questions are designed to assist older people and family members engage in non-emotional conversation to determine whether or not it is time for them to stop driving.

  1. Sometimes when I drive at night, it’s hard to see.       Does this happen to you, too?
  2. Do other drivers make you nervous alot?       I know I get jumpy when everybody goes too fast!
  3. Maintaining a car these days is getting so expensive.       How do you do it? Is it worth it?!
  4. Isn’t parking getting more difficult and expensive these days?
  5. I was just reading online on the DVLA website about drivers over 70. What do you know about it?
  6. What did the doctor say about your medications and driving?
  7. How do you get around when your car is in the garage?
  8. Have passengers refused to drive with you?       What did you do then?
  9. How about letting someone else drive for once?
  10. What activities are you afraid of missing?       Can anyone else help you get there?
  11. When was your last eye test? How did it go?
  12. How much are you paying for car insurance these days? Its getting rahter expensive right?!


If you don’t feel safe driving with an older relative, refuse to go with them or take two cars.





Caring for the whole person

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When I started out on my journey in care I suppose I was a bit naïve, we are conditioned to think that only the physical needs are important, you know… as long as we are clean, have food and appropriate shelter we are well cared for, but I soon realised that our emotional needs are just, if not more important and that both physical and emotional needs go hand in hand. It is just not enough to have just one side looked after for us to feel totally fulfilled. In fact not having our emotional side cared for can make us physically unwell. It soon became apparent to me that the biggest issue that older people face is not their physical issues but… wait for it… Loneliness!! I feel I need to back this up with some theory… Abraham Maslow developed a theory of human needs in 1943, his basic concept was that humans could not fully move into the next level up in fulfilment of needs until the previous had been met, he put this into a simple table:

It is clear to see that after our physical and safety needs have been looked after we need to our emotional needs to be met. In the context of care, it is also clear that people are definitely getting their physical aspects looked after but what about the emotional? Spending time asking an older person how they are makes them feel valued, showing patience and kindness says to them that they are worth that time with and listening to them and how they feel gives them a sense that someone cares in a lonely world. We were never made to be in this world alone, we need relationships in our lives to make us feel complete.

Social care has a duty to meet both sides of care, spending quality time and supporting tasks is the perfect balance if we want our older generation to be as happy as they can be! It’s not complicated… in fact it’s really simple!



5 Common Frustrations that Families may have in dealing with In-home Care Providers!

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1. Poor communication from the office

This is always top of the list! Poor or inadequate communications from the office surrounding the care arrangements of a loved one can be hugely frustrating for a family member particularly if they are further away and unable to be more present to assist themselves. These family members are often juggling such busy families lives with their own children and sometimes grandchildren too that they need good quality and consistent communication from the office. A common error made is saying something like ‘I will call you back as soon as I can…’ A relative may think this means in the next 10 -15 minutes while someone in the office might think this means ‘in the next day or so’. No wonder frustrations can arise!

2. Not having one point of contact

It takes many bodies to make a care at home service function well but customers should not need to understand the entire office system and everyone’s function within it. Each customer should have one main point for contact throughout his or her journey with a provider. Ideally this should be the person who initially came out to see them when the initial contact was made so there is a meaningful face to face relationship and this office based person truly understands their situation, someone who can handle any aspect of their enquiry and if they don’t know the answer they should certainly be able to find it.

3. Invoicing mistakes

Inaccurate invoices can be a huge frustration. While often very straightforward to fix and make amends, errors show a lack of care surrounding the administrative processes. Mistakes could range from invoices being sent to the wrong address or for the attention of the wrong relative or they could include charges for services that were not provided. Customers should have such trust and confidence in the administrative procedures they feel they do not even need to check that their invoice are correct!   If there is invoice mistakes being make what other more critical mistakes might be being made?

4. When a relatives carer does not emotionally read a situation correctly

It is vital that care workers in the industry have loads of emotional intelligence. They should always be able to put themselves in the shoes of the relatives, many of whom live in different cities and act in a way that put everyone at ease and gives relatives confidence that their relative is being well looked after by a switched on individual. Over communication by a care worker on trivial matters – can often be a frustration for a busy relative as much as under communicating – its about a care worker striking the right balance about what the relative needs to know, e.g. ‘your mum was not feeling herself today…’ – does this mean I need to get on a plane ASAP and come and take care of a potential crisis or does it just mean she was just a bit slower and quieter today but otherwise healthy. Clear communication on such maters is vital – relatives are often juggling a lot of other things in their lives – clarity is essential.

5. Having decisions taken out of your hands and a general loss of control

This is far more common that anyone would like to think. I would be certain that most people who have been instrumental in making care arrangements for an elderly relative will have felt some loss of control at some point in the journey. I would add that this is less likely when dealing with a private in-home care provider as after all – you are the boss and you are in full control of your own arrangements. It’s more likely to become an issue if you are dealing with or have become heavily dependent on the social work for your care needs. Social work will often have a limited range of options/solutions to care issues and as the needs of an individual deteriorates, unless you very deliberately and intentionally take back control of the situation you may find yourself being pulled down a care route that you or your loved one was always previously keen to avoid.   – E.g. residential care.

I come across countless frustrated families who put up with the limitations of local authority care for a long time as they did not realise there was any alternative. If you are prepared to pay privately for a great service, and there are lots of great care providers out there, then, as a paying customer, you will always be in control.  By way of analogy, if you go down to Waitrose for your groceries, you and you alone are in control of what you put in your shopping basket – no one tells you what you can and cannot buy and you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee afterwards! Private care at home is no different.

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