Sunday, 18 March 2012

The carer who lied about time spent with elderly client exposed as cheat by Telecare Monitor

Christine Crawford’s* (not her real name) 89-year-old mother is hard of hearing, registered blind and uses a Zimmerframe after breaking her hip and wrist a year ago. “Mum lives about 20 minutes from my house by car,” says Christine, “so I can’t get over there as much as I’d like to, and of course I worry about her constantly.”

So Christine was relieved when the care company contracted by her local authority made sure it sent a carer three times a day to stay with her mother for 30 minutes each time, and longer on a Saturday, her ‘bath day’.

However, when her mother told her that the carer only stayed for about 10-15 minutes each time, alarm bells started ringing.

“We had a meeting with the care company” says Christine. “And they assured us that the carer was staying the full 30-45 minutes each time she came. They even showed us her time-sheets, all filled in precisely to that effect. And they implied that my mother was ‘confused’ about the timings. They basically said she was wrong.”

But what the care company didn’t know, was that Christine had installed a telecare monitoring device, called SeNCit, a few months previously, to keep an electronic ‘eye’ on her mother, and this device could prove that the carer was the one who was lying.

“We weren’t deliberately checking up on the carer,” says Christine. “We had heard about this new device which you pop up on the wall of your elderly relative's house or flat, and it texts you if it doesn’t detect daily movement. So you programme in the hours you would expect to see movement in the home, say between 8am and 11am, when mum would normally use the bathroom, and if there is no movement in this time slot, you get a text – it’s as simple as that. So you know pretty quickly if your relative has had a fall or becomes incapacitated in any way.

“But one of the other functions of this device is that it alerts you when the front door opens – basically so you know when your relative leaves the house or comes back, as this can be a real issue for some elderly people with Alzheimer’s – and so I was able to see exactly when the carer turned up, and when she left.”

In this case, the care company accepted that they had been wrong, and now Christine is pleased to say that her mother gets the full amount of time with her carers each day.

“Without this device I wouldn’t have known though.” She says. “And the old person will always be accused of being confused and getting the times wrong. I think all houses should have these SeNCit devices fitted, so the care companies know that their carers are putting in the time they say they are.”

FACTILE:
SeNCit contains a SIM card that can store up to five mobile or landline numbers and the PIR technology that can detect body heat up to 10 metres. Mounted on a wall in a room in the house that the resident has to regularly pass through, often the hall, the alarm will be programmed to detect movement at three key times throughout the day, for example, morning, lunchtime and evening.

What makes SeNCit unique:
The elderly/vulnerable individual does not have to raise the alarm or remember to wear a device;
It's multi-functional, compact and discreet, meaning the elderly/vulnerable individual feels safe but not stigmatised;
Its running costs can be as low as a few pence a month, so with many councils forced to make cutbacks in their social-care budgets, SeNCit is a cost-effective way of keeping an eye on the most vulnerable members of society;
It offers ultimate peace of mind for concerned relatives/friends and will, hopefully, help them to avoid late-night dashes to check on their elderly/vulnerable relative or friend.

It will alert the relative or friend if there is a mains power cut, and then again if the back-up battery is running low.
The service operates on pay as you go or contract, with text costing between 4p and 10p depending on the mobile phone service provider.

As well as detecting lack of movement, SeNCit and SeNCit+ which includes a wireless door sensor also has a number of other functions, including:

A thermometer that will detect if the house temperature has dropped below 18C;

The wireless door sensor device will alert relatives/friends of the vulnerable/elderly individual has wandered out of the house by sending a text message if they open the door;

The door sensor device can also alert relatives/friends of the vulnerable/elderly individual if a carer has not visited when they were expected to;

If there is a power cut, SeNCit will send a text message;

SeNCit can also act as a home-security device and be programmed to alert individuals to movement in a house when a house is unattended.

Also, if a relative is showing alarming habits – e.g. getting up to go to the toilet more in the night could mean a water infection, which could be serious.

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