Change of carer shocks clients

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

El­derly clients of Chris­tian home­sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tion En­liven are dis­tressed by changes to their care this sum­mer.

But En­liven says staffing changes were sig­nalled in ad­vance, and were nec­es­sary to con­form to a strict new Cap­i­tal & Coast District Health Board bud­get.

Clients of En­liven Pos­i­tive Age­ing Ser­vices, which is run by Pres­by­te­rian Sup­port, had their car­ers changed two weeks be­fore Christ­mas, says a carer who did not want to be iden­ti­fied.

The change was up­set­ting for many clients, some of whom had the same carer for a decade, our source says. ‘‘They’re very dis­tressed. ‘‘They feel very scared and vul­ner­a­ble. They’ve built up a re­la­tion­ship with a par­tic­u­lar sup­port worker. They all got quite a shock.’’

En­liven pro­vides home vis­its to 71 el­derly, dis­abled and sick peo­ple in Porirua and Tawa, most of them re­ferred by the pub­lic health ser­vice or ACC.

Thirty lo­cal car­ers visit any­where from daily to fort­nightly de­pend­ing on clients’ needs; help­ing with house­work, meal prepa­ra­tion, and per­sonal tasks like show­er­ing.

En­liven’s ros­ters were changed to re­duce trav­el­ling time for car­ers, who have now been as­signed clients liv­ing close to their own homes and close to each other, says Shiva Ku­mar, Pres­by­te­rian Sup­port’s gen­eral man­ager of ex­ter­nal re­la­tions.

En­liven’s lower petrol pay­ments helped the not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion meet a strict bud­get set by C& CDHB, which re­cently re­duced its con­trac­tors from three to two, he says.

‘‘We had to re­or­gan­ise our re­sources. We saw some op­por­tu­ni­ties for im­prove­ments, ef­fi­ciency gains.’’

The changes are ben­e­fi­cial to all – car­ers can now spend more time with each client, or see more clients over­all, Mr Ku­mar says.

‘‘We firmly be­lieve it was worth do­ing it be­cause in the longer term [clients and staff] ben­e­fit from it.’’

Clients were sent a let­ter in June telling them changes were coming, and staff were con­sulted in Oc­to­ber, Mr Ku­mar says.

But our source says that though clients were told changes were coming, many had no idea their car­ers would be changed as a re­sult.

‘‘They weren’t told specif­i­cally what it was go­ing to mean for them. We were told there were go­ing to be changes, and they cer­tainly got them dumped on them,’’ the carer says.

‘‘It was a bit sud­den and it just shows a lack of un­der­stand­ing.’’

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