Published by Helping Hands on
14 October 2012
Care workers and the night shift
By Dr Rekha Elaswarapu, Helping Hands Advisor
The Daily telegraph reported last week on the case of a care worker in a nursing home who drugged the dementia patients at night so she could sleep on her night shift. The said carer has been jailed for three years.
Mirela Aionoaei gave four women and two men non-prescription anti-insomnia, anti-depressant and anti-psychotic pills before pushing two chairs together to form a bed for herself and turning off the lights. Harrow Crown Court was told that Aionoaei would throw away the medication prescribed to the patients and replace it with her drugs, which she had brought in from Romania.
In another case a worker at a care home risked smothering a person with dementia when he tied her to a bed with her sheet, a hearing has been told. The care worker was reportedly working the night shift when restrained the elderly woman by fastening her top sheet to the bed rail at Galsworthy House Nursing Home in Surrey. The manager of the care home said the sheet was “taut across her chest” and she could have been “smothered”. The hearing continues.
In both cases the safety of the people being looked after was put at risk.
The anecdotal evidence indicates that less serious but equally undignified treatment of the people by their carers, happens too frequently. For example, there are too many examples where the people being cared for have been given a meal very early on in the evening so that they can be put to bed so that the care worker can have some time on her own. Another example I read about recently was of a carer telling her client not to use the toilet in the night as it disturbed the care worker’s sleep. This is in complete compromise of dignity and respect for the person being cared for.
The care workers, especially the live-in carers, are engaged to support the person being cared for at all times. If the client feels unable to seek help from the live in carer during they night it is not acceptable. It is the responsibility of the carer to ensure that the client is safe and their needs are being met at all times.
Carers should always remember that they are in a client’s home to look after them.