Carers, Cats, Care plans and Commonsense (or lack thereof)

Introduction

I acquired a disability in 2009, and live with paraplegia, chronic pain, apnea, narcolepsy and tuna casserole allergy*. I have personal carers visit my home each night from 8:15 pm for around 90 minutes. They do tasks such as washing clothes, preparing my breakfast and tucking me into bed. Relatively simple and straight forward work as my needs is simple. Carers with commonsense are vital.

(* I hate tuna casserole and hopefully it won’t be offered to me if I am allergic to it)

Carers that have commonsense and good with cats

spartacus a grey and white cat. he requires carers with commonsense as Spartacus communicates his needs to them

I have two requirements for carers – they have commonsense and are good with cats. If a person has commonsense, they are quick to learn, make the best decisions, and efficiently deal with the care required. As Spartacus is part of our family, it is essential the carer understands cats and can also care for him.

Care plan

To help the carers, I’ve put together a care plan. It is a written document and covers the following topics.

To help the carers, I’ve put together a care plan. It is a written document and covers the following topics.

  • Introduction – my disability, my primary health issues, other people living at home
  • Directions for entering and exiting home – how to get in and out, contact methods that the carer can use to get my attention, the importance of ensuring Spartacus remains on the property
  • Daily tasks – a list of the daily tasks (that need to occur every day) grouped in categories
  • Weekly tasks – a list of the days of the week, and what to do on each day
  • Things to be avoided – things that carers may have forgotten in the past, or better ways of doing things

Click here to view my full care plan. I’ve included a few details below.

Intro

  • Became disabled in an accident on 11th September 2009
  • Complete T4 spinal injury, no sensation below the nipple line
  • I live with Spartacus, the grey and white cat

Directions for entering and exiting the house

  • Ring doorbell and stand in front of the intercom or SMS John or Call John
  • DO NOT ALLOW SPARTACUS TO ESCAPE

Daily Tasks

  • Bed preparation – If John is not already in bed then prepare bed; shake the sheepskin and then spray with glen 20 and then brush it
  • Rubbish disposal – Empty bins (kitchen, office, John’s bedroom) and place in the appropriate council bin
  • Cat care – John has the responsibility of looking after Spartacus, and let him know if anything needs attention
  • Kitchen cleanup – If the DW says ‘dirty’ then please load items into it. If the DW appears to be getting filled, then run it

Weekly tasks

  • Monday – empty Sparty’s litter tray into the green bin. Wash litter tray in laundry
  • Wednesday – change John’s linen
  • Friday – bring council bins in

Things to be avoided

  • Spartacus leaves home. Get him
  • Sharp objects on the black kitchen surfaces
  • Alfresco and laundry doors are not locked

When carers lack commonsense

spa and pool in the background, the lifter channel overhead

I was recently asked to trial a new carer, hoping they may be called upon when my regular carers are not available. Just before the carer arrived for the fourth time, I was swimming in my pool, and four guests were enjoying a hot spa. I requested to get out of the pool, placed myself in the pool lifter, lifted, and commenced moving towards my powered wheelchair. The carer had already observed another carer working in the pool area. My care plan mentions the duties of the carer in the pool

  • Place a plastic bag over the backrest, and one on the seat
  • Place a grey towel over the headrest and backrest, another grey towel on the seat and ensure it goes on the footrest too. Another grey towel leave on the right armrest
  • Fill 1/2 – 3/4 of the bucket with hot water from the shower
  • Pour the bucket on John to wash off the chlorine when he is over the spa

As I headed towards the spa and the carer, I heard my powered wheelchair startup and commenced moving. I couldn’t see what he was doing, and given four guests were in the spa, I shouted out ‘Stop moving the chair’. ‘Where do you want it?’ came the reply. ‘Exactly where I placed the chair, there was no need to move it’. The carer couldn’t remember the location he has already seen the chair many times, besides the lifter channel should have given him enough clues. As I got closer to him, I noticed the chair was sideways, and the carer tried to twist me and the lifter sideways. I backed away from him and told him to face the wheelchair towards me, and then I saw a look of horror from the faces in the spa.

The carer lost control of the powered wheelchair, and the front wheels came within five centimetres of the spa edge. I shouted out ‘Get out of this room’ as the four guests were in danger. One of the guests came to my rescue, apologised to them, and calmed down by staying away from the carer. If the chair went into the spa, it would be a write-off and the spa would be damaged and something special would need to occur to remove the chair. Already the financial damages due to the lack of carer commonsense would be a minimum of $100,000. If there were injuries, it could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the damages.

I returned to my kitchen and asked the carer how he was doing. He seemed ok but didn’t seem too embarrassed about what almost occurred.

Bye Bye

After a good sleep, I decided the carer couldn’t come back to my home. He lacked commonsense and is too much of a risk to the health and safety of guests, myself, Spartacus, equipment and my home. It was disappointing that he performed so poorly after receiving training from another carer and being provided with clear instructions.

Common sense can’t be taught. People with disabilities need carers with commonsense.

More information about me can be found at johnduthie.com.

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