I had a meeting on Friday with one of the care co-ordinators at mum and dad’s local council. She came out to their place to discuss whether the care they are receiving is adequate.
They currently have:
- a personal care worker for up to an hour 3x a week. This is necessary if mum is in hospital or unwell, as dad is too wobbly to shower & get dressed on his own. In practice, they do nothing until he is ready to put on his shoes.
- a private personal care worker (funded by me & my brother) 2x a week. She does enormous amounts of housework while dad showers & dresses, then puts his shoes on him & leaves. She rocks!
- a house cleaner for 1.5 hours a week.
- Meals on Wheels – hot meals delivered 7 days a week (in practice, I think dad gets them hot 4 days a week with frozen meals to cover the other 3 days)
The cleaners have apparently complained that the house is not clean enough for them to clean.
Let me say that again.
The cleaners say the house is not clean enough to clean.
I think the real problem is that it’s not possible to clean a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit in 90 minutes a week. I think the woman from the council agrees.
Outcomes of the meeting:
- She will try to get a personal care worker for 1 or 2 additional mornings a week. (This would be helpful but it would be sad to lose Liz, the private care worker, who does so much to help. We may keep her on for other assistance.)
- The personal care workers will be told to do some housework when they are here. Specifically, hanging out washing, loading the dishwasher and making the bed. (This will be *very* helpful)
- The cleaner will be increased to 2 hrs every 2nd week. (This will mean that the spare room & study only get cleaned once every 2 weeks, which should be fine).
- We are to try to get an industrial clean done of the house. (The issue here is that they may expect mum & dad to have moved things out of the way before they clean, which is just not possible. I have to do some research on this.)
The other issue is that they don’t have the right cleaning equipment. If we are using council’s home help, then they have very strict OH&S requirements. Mum has already had to replace all the (environmentally friendly) cleaning products she used to use with products from their list of things they are willing to use. Now she has to get a new vacuum cleaner, because their old vacuum cleaner is an upright & not on the recommended list. And a new mop, because she doesn’t have the special kind of mop they want. And a special kind of mop bucket to go with the special kind of mop.
It hardly seems worth having the subsidised cleaners, when you have to spend hundreds of dollars complying with their requirements, and when they’re unable to come for any longer than that.
The other good outcome, however, was that this woman is going to refer mum and dad for “a package” – federal government funding to help meet costs of care for elderly people staying in their own homes. The last package meeting turned out to be a dud (it was for paying carers to stay with someone who couldn’t be left alone – not our problem) but this time we may be getting somewhere.
I just wonder whether they will pay for the recommended vacuum cleaner as well.