Homecare complaints: 10 regions

Seven local health area offices reported complaints about home-help services while three others did not report any

Seven local health area offices reported complaints about home-help services while three others did not report any

Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 01:00

Dublin South East
l A complaint on behalf of a “frail 95-year-old lady” referred to “dissatisfaction at the level of service provided by the current carers on a number of occasions” including a lack of experience in ‘live-in caring’ and carers’ inability to cook meaning the client was reliant on Meals-on-Wheels for most meals. One carer who “did not have sufficient English to communicate” with the client caused “great upset” to the individual according to the complaint. The documentation indicates that the care provider was subsequently changed.

l Details around a second complaint were redacted under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis that they involved information on the “functions and negotiations of public bodies”.

Dun Laoghaire
One complaint expressed concern over the level of care being delivered to a person receiving radiation treatment. It stated that “the carers rarely arrive on time and never stay for the full hour, instead often leaving after less than 30 minutes”. One carer [said]. . . “that her travel time was included in the hour”. The same complainant said that requests to complete tasks such as shopping and cleaning the bathroom and bedroom were met with “objections and disdain”. The complainant said that when contact was made with a manager at the home help agency he said “he would look into it, but that [name redacted] might loose [sic] the hours if too much was made of it”.

l Some details around a second complaint were redacted under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis that they involved third-party personal information and information obtained in confidence. However, one non-redacted part of the correspondence reveals that the complaint related to issues around the non-attendance of staff, poor time keeping and a discontinuity of staff.

Kildare/West Wicklow
l One complaint centred on a client with Parkinson’s who complained he was not receiving an adequate number of home help hours. A subsequent HSE investigation indicated that the client’s care needs were being met.

l Another complaint came from a couple who said they had been without a homecare assistant from May 2011 to July of the same year.

l A third complaint centred on a woman whose mother had suffered a bleed to the brain leaving her with memory loss and confusion and “very uncoordinated mobility”. It was alleged that the woman was left without a homecare package for a two-week period after being released from hospital, a situation which the complainant described as “extremely unprofessional and upsetting”. The HSE subsequently wrote to the complainant saying that her mother had contacted the home help co-ordinator to say she did not want to avail of the service. The documentation indicated that a new homecare arrangement was due to be put in place for the client.

l A complainant questioned why home help was not being made available to a disabled family member. A subsequent investigation found that the person in question was sanctioned two hours’ home help services but that each time the home help was proposed to begin work in the household, the client had postponed the start date.

l A complainant wrote to the HSE saying the reduction in home help hours to a family had been “devastating” for the family. However, in subsequent correspondence the HSE said “the home support(s) currently available to your parents are appropriate given the resources available” and that the care plan would be kept under active review.

l A complaint made on behalf of a client about the behaviour of a home help resulted in the HSE responding that concerns raised by two home helps in connection with the household brought “to six the number of home helps that have had major difficulty providing care” in that household. The HSE community services manager suggested that the individual concerned “should be given written instruction that she is not entitled to interfere with and harass HSE staff in the course of their duties”.

l A woman described the “worrying and stress in dreading” the return of a home help. The complainant said that, on an occasion where the client had fallen at her front door “five minutes later she made me fold a lot of clothes and socks(.) She knew I was shaken and sore after the fall and still insisted I done (sic) the work then”. A subsequent investigation was “unable to definitely determine the complaint outcome” in relation to the above concerns but the home help worker was changed. A further complaint that the home help “never waits her full time” was upheld.

l A second complaint centred on a home help who the complainant said “acted in a non-professional manner” including an instance where the home help was alleged to have entered a bedroom “when she had no professional reason to do so”. The complaint was upheld, the home help changed and an apology issued.

No record of complaints found

Tipperary North/East Limerick
l One complaint related to housework not being carried out correctly, that the home help was “not interested” and said there was a “personality clash” between the home help and the client.

l A complaint made on behalf of a client alleged that a home help “comes five mornings a week for one hour. In that time she sits for 30 plus minutes” adding that the client was “very seldom” showered and that the home help only changed the bed sheets once a week despite the client being “very incontinent”. However, a subsequent HSE investigation interviewed the client who reported having an “excellent relationship” with the home help. On a visit to the client’s home following on from the complaint, the HSE found that the duties appeared to have been carried out correctly.

l A third complaint centred on an allegation that a home help had pressurised an elderly client in relation to a will. The complaint alleged that the home help had put “demands and pressures” on the client to make a will in the home help’s favour “in return [she] would take care of (names redacted) for the rest of [their] lives”. A subsequent investigation concluded that discussions did take place between the home help and the client regarding a will and the complaint was upheld.

Tipperary South
No record of complaints found.

No record of complaints found.

l Details around a complaint were redacted under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis that they involved “functions and negotiations of public bodies”.