Friday, 18 March 2016

More Fun With Home Care Aides

I had another bad morning with one of my Home Care Aides. Now, let me make this perfectly clear. I have, and have had, some very good HCA's. I've also had some truly bad ones. Then there are the ones in the middle, the ones who can do their job but don't really want to do the hard work, the ones who will do their best to get by with just doing enough, and no more. That's what I was dealing with this morning.

It reminds me of a line George Carlin used to use in his comedy routine. "Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are stupider than that!" I have kind of a similar problem with care aides. It's not that they are bad people. They either cannot maintain the focus and attention to do their job properly, or they simply don't want to do it properly. Today I think I saw a bit of both.

Consider that this particular HCA comes every week. This week she has been here twice. Yet every time she comes here, I have to remind her of the routine, including asking her for a towel when I am sitting in the shower all wet. I have to explain each step of my exercises every time, even though they are the same every time. And whenever she leaves whatever room I am in, I can hear her playing on her phone.

Then there is her inability to count. My exercises require that muscles be held in position for 30 seconds in some exercises, and a minute in other exercise. This HCA seem pathologically incapable of counting consistently to 30. Sometimes it's a mad dash to the finish line, other times its a long wander through the forest. And most times she is looking off out the window, focused on anything but what she is supposed to be doing.

There are other things, like her inability to make the bed properly. You have to put the sheets on differently for a quadriplegic; they have to be loose, since I cannot use my legs to lift them. She forgets, each and every time she is here, to take out the garbage, even though it is right there in the hallway beside her when she leaves. She never tidies the kitchen, even though my care plan explicitly says this needs to be done.

So today Katherine was here, ostensibly to show her how to make the bed properly. With Katherine here, I am more willing to confront other things, knowing that I have backup if needed. So I focused on teaching her to count, and reminded her to keep her attention on the task at hand, not on whatever she was seeing out the window.

All of this upset the HCA. That's understandable, I suppose. None of us likes to be challenged directly like that, especially when we don't want to do what the challenge demands of us. So when she was finished, she called the office and asked for a supervisor to come and talk to me. That should be an interesting discussion. I can hardly wait. I hope Katherine is here for that one too. She's a ninja!


  1. The cell thing is unacceptable. Call the agency. If they send her again, tell her she must leave her phone In the car or the minute she gets on her phone - even once or if you are not in the room - call the agency and say she's playing with her phone.

  2. First thing in the door: take out garbage. Second thing: tidy kitchen. Must be done in 10-15 mins.

  3. When my grandmother was terminal with Cancer, I had to fire her aid because the lady was being mean to her. Always huffing and puffing and not paying attention. I did this when I was 19 years old. Don't tolerate her inattention or her cell phone playing. She is there to do a job, not play Angry Birds. Feel well Richard