Who Cares For The Carers..?

Pamela, who’d worked night shifts with Molly at the address for over a year, broke down as she gave evidence of the events leading up to her friend’s death at the inquest.

Asked how Mr Seddiki behaved when he was being changed, she said: “He is a very aggressive man. He can kick you, push you. […]

“Quite a few people had reported what was going on at that house but I don’t know why it was taking long to sort out.”

I do. It’s because no-one cares enough to protect the people who do this work.

The court heard how Mr Seddiki was mercurial on account of his dementia and could either be a “good man” or act violently towards the carers.

On May 24 he “didn’t want to be changed” and was shouting at them to leave or he’d call the police, Pamela told the court.

She said Molly put a spit mask on him at this time as a protective measure as he’d allegedly spat at them before when he was in such a state.

Interesting. There’s a huge campaign to stop the police using these on the people they arrest, yet not a peep out of the usual suspects about this. Is it because they don’t want to rock the boat?

During questioning by Oliver Lewis, for the family, Pamela said the patient was a “strong man” and that “a lot of people reported him hitting carers with [his] zimmer frame.

But no-one did a thing about the reports. Of course. Even when they did turn up, they did nothing.

Det Sgt Simon Cormack, who led the investigation into Molly’s death, revealed there was a previously logged police “incident” where the deceased had “locked herself in the bathroom” because she “felt threatened” by Mr Seddiki in February 2017.

No further action was taken and it wasn’t “flagged up to safeguarding to take any further,” Det Sgt Cormack said.

Everyone just shrugged, and moved on. Until the inevitable happened.

Pressed on how the police dealt with Mr Seddiki following Molly’s death, the chief said: “He was arrested. However, he never entered into any police station. It was determined it was not appropriate for him. He was taken to hospital and was assessed in hospital. They said that at that time he did not have the capacity [for police] to interview him under caution. Not fit to be detained, not fit to be interviewed, not fit to come into any police station.”

He said there were six cameras in the house, including one in Mr Seddiki’s room, but these only sent a live feed to the elderly couple’s daughter and nothing was recorded.

The daughter, you see, was far more concerned with ensuring that the people paid a pittance to look after her relative were monitored to stop them stealing from him or mistreating him.

It was claimed during her inquest that Mr Seddiki had struck her while she tried to change his clothes and bedding. But London Care’s lawyer suggested that had not been the case, and pointed out her colleague Pamela had not actually seen him hit Molly at any stage.

This week, a jury sided with the agency and rejected the claim that Mr Seddiki – who was initially arrested on suspicion of murder before being released without charge – had killed her.

Probably thinking that if they found him guilty, they might have trouble getting carers for their own relatives when the time came…

Molly’s family said: “We sat through the evidence over the last three days and we are very concerned Molly and her fellow care workers were given no practical help or guidance by their employers, London Care, or Islington Council, who funded the care, about how to manage a patient they were both well aware was challenging.

“We found it shocking Islington had no working system in place to carry out a rapid reassessment of a challenging patient’s changing care needs – something urgently needed to protect both care workers such as Molly and their patients.”

Well, quite. You can’t throw a stick in any state-run organisation without hitting a dozen H&S at work regulations. Why is this different?

“In this case it took six weeks for an assessment to take place and there was no evidence the council had communicated the outcome of that assessment to Molly or her employers prior to her death.

“It has been suggested by London Care that if things became too dangerous on a shift Molly and her coworker could withdraw or decline to provide the care which the patient needed and still be paid for a full 12 hours’ work however Molly was on a zero hours contract – meaning that she would only be paid for the hours that she actually completed.

“Nothing can bring Molly back but we hope lessons can be learnt from her death to ensure patients with challenging care needs are provided with an appropriate level of care by the state. [This case] highlights the challenges facing carers and it is important their safety is protected.”

It is. It’s vital, if we are to expect strangers to care for our elderly or demented relatives. But it doesn’t seem to be a priority.

I wonder why?

7 comments for “Who Cares For The Carers..?

  1. john in cheshire
    April 24, 2019 at 10:33 am

    JuliaM, it’s just another problem that those we pay to do things on our behalf; ie. Local and Central Civil Servants; don’t want to address.

    My mother is in a care home; in the main they do a good job of looking after her. But speaking to the carers and watching the behaviour of some of the residents, the risk of physical abuse is quite high. And some days are more fraught than others, when the residents seem to share a collective aggression. And the carers are doing up to 60 hours a week, at my mother’s home, on 12 hour shifts.

    For a short time before my mother was admitted to the home she had home support and I am well aware of the low pay and long hours these care visitors have to work just to make a living. The risk to the carers must be greater in home care because generally there will be two of them at most with little chance of protecting themselves from an aggressive man.

    No doubt there are bad carers but there are many more who turn up day after day, week after week, for a pittance to do the things that the law requires but the government bodies won’t fund properly. One time I said to the social worker that I was thinking of bringing my mother to live with me rather than stay in a care home only to be told they would not allow that to happen. It’s the law, you see, all the power but none of the responsibility is with the upholders of the law.

  2. April 24, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    It’s quite clearly a failure of social services to provide specialist support for this violent man.

    I’m sure the support agency would have provided plenty of evidence of the risk to their workers. The care provider has the option of removing support if they think that their workers will come to harm. It’s then for social services to understand the reasons submitted for the removal of support. But in cases I’ve heard of, for whatever reason, social services refuse to acknowledge to violent behaviour (most likely because behaviour-appropriate secure care is so much more expensive) and then force the care provider to provide care.

    The care provider should have the option in extreme circumstances to refuse care and to terminate the contract. But… who wants to volunteer to lose money.

    So the sorry state of affairs continues and as you say, those at the coalface, those providing the care are put at risk on a daily basis.

    The sooner the care industry is brought into line on a professional basis, more like nursing and the NHS in general, the better. It would provide better conditions for care workers and at the same time throw a light on the sorry state of supposedly professional local authority social services.

    In my dealings with social services, the number of times things have been made up, decided with no clear regard to care requirements and the amount of covering up of poor decisions just shows how badly the people making the decisions are acting. Before anyone says it, it’s nothing to do with budgets and a lot to do with the calibre of staff and the attitude of management.

    It’s no coincidence that the page on my blog that attracted the biggest number of comments, was a page detailing how poor social services were. The number of angry comments made me take the page down in the end.

    In this specific case, it beggars belief that if the man was so violent (and all parties were aware of his ability to inflict abuse), he was still being treated in his own home by “normal” care workers, rather than by trained staff in a secure unit. From the report, I cannot for the life of me understand why care workers were restraining this man in such a way on a regular basis.

    • April 28, 2019 at 6:58 am

      I wish it really did ‘beggar belief’ but – although I don’t work in this sector – I could probably tell you how any request to move him to a secure facility would go.

      And what would happen to any whistleblower.

  3. Pcar
    April 24, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Not condoning the assault and killing, however:

    On May 24 he “didn’t want to be changed” and was shouting at them to leave or he’d call the police, Pamela told the court.

    imo that is the key quote. The carers (Molly etc) should have obeyed and left. If they believed he was endangering himself by refusing “care”, apply for him to be sectioned. Otherwise, forcing him to accept care/treatment is illegal & assault unless under instruction of a Health POA holder (gist not law).

    • April 26, 2019 at 1:51 am

      Sensible.

    • April 28, 2019 at 6:59 am

      If they had left, I have no doubt the daughter would be on the phone sharpish demanding they return and do her… I mean, THE job.

      • Pcar
        April 28, 2019 at 11:32 pm

        To which they “just say No” as it’s illegal

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