Revised; An open letter to the Irish “caregiving” industry
To whom it concerns,
As a wheelchair user, who avails of the services of some of the “caregivers” that your facility trains, I have a number of issues to raise.
I really should have sent this email some years ago. Its unfortunate now that another academic year has started, but hopefully it’s better late than never.
Its so obvious that these courses are provided with an outdated medical model approach, devoid of input from people with disabilities.
There seems to be no or little attention, placed on the huge impact of language.
I know I am constantly annoyed at your graduates who constantly refer to me as “him” (when talking to one of their colleagues) and do as little to help me as possible.
Brazenly leaving me in unhygienic conditions (we’re not cleaners, as they hurriedly point out) while refusing to pick up a piece of paper that’s under the bed.
The galling thing is that they will announce themselves as “care givers” to everyone else.
I have been manhandled, spoken down to, even robbed by these so called “caregivers.”
I would like you to be aware, that these occasions are not isolated instances.
They are endemic in this industry where “care” is very much a euphemism, which disguises a multitude!
Where exactly is the “care”, in a timed and paid job? Over the years I have constantly fallen foul, of those who want to come in late, do as little as possible and leave early.
Many cases make you wonder in just what other industry could they get away with this? Constant thanks seem to be expected and claimed as part of their “care” profession.
I do like Cheshire Ireland’s stance of giving their employees the job description of “care support workers.”
This is a little bit more realistic, than the misnomer or anachronistic title of “caregiver.”
My mother would be a true “care giver” because her motivation for helping me, is not based on money! Or trying to fit in as many “clients” as possible.
Perhaps a name change for your course is in order and certainly some input from a person with a disability, during the course is badly needed too.
I often find that the person who comes to me has distinctions from your course, while s/he has a personality and communication skills that leave a lot to be desired.
Please improve on this scenario, and also please spread this email to other course providers, that I am so far unable to reach.
I have sent the following letter to a couple of different “care giver” course organisers. True to form, I have not received any response yet (not that I was expecting any).
This savage wheel will keep on turning and I have no illusions that my point of view is going to put the breaks on it, or steer its direction to a more client centred arena.
It’s a money making business and I am very much caught in the crossfire. I know that I am very much screaming into the wind, but every little arrow must count surely!
Thursday: 26/08/20; Life during these covid times is pretty unbearable. I have come to realise over the years, but especially now, that as a client relying on other people in this industry, you are just a worthless box to be ticked!
There are things being done constantly around me, with no consultation to myself at all. The industry bears its teeth and I am expected to put and shut up!
I remember a few months ago, meeting a woman using a walking frame with effort. She turned around to me and seeing I was being pushed by someone, said with false alacrity that I was “so lucky.”
My face dropped and even though I knew the effort involved in shuffling around the town given her dimensions, I just looked up and said with as much conviction as I could muster “no, keep on walking.” She knew exactly what I meant!
Invest in your own body. Once your muscles give up and you are forced into a world of dependency and subservience, the world loses a lot of its colour and you are certainly not the captain of your own ship!
I am all too aware that during these stress ridden times, what I say here, will fall on some very deaf and preoccupied ears. As someone who has been at the mercy of this industry for over fourteen yearss.
The problems arise over and over again. Lives are made more difficult, through a mixture of greed and HSE approved impunity!