Respite and your carer drops off to sleep

How would you deal with that?

Bear in mind this carer is v v nice, but.....she doesn't make much (hardly any) conversation with dad! And then she regularly drops off and snoozes! I really don't know how to approach this politely but I don't do 'polite' very well (in this kind of situation) so before I kick off, how would you approach this? X

Ps how do I know this you ask, because sometimes we stay in and potter doing chores around the house n that's how we know cos we've seen her!

42 Replies

  • She isn't meeting your Dad's needs and no way should be snoozing whilst at work. It is a hard one as you say she is nice. I'd have a quiet word and say what you want her to do whilst she is caring for your Dad and that you've seen she is dropping off and it is not acceptable. You need to know your Dad is safe and looked after. Up to whether you tell the agency or not. I normally do so they know what their staff are doing and they can have the word with them if you don't feel able to. You can be polite but assertive and at end of day they are being paid to do a job and a very important one at that. Carers are paid poorly but are doing so much in the community but need to maintain a adequate level of care and falling asleep is not.

  • Thx spiral sparkle

    I do need to broach this with her n would rather that then telling the agency......its just a very tricky one for me....x

  • Ah I typed a reply and it deleted, blaming my phone not me!

    It is tricky and it makes my anxiety to rise when having conversations like this.

    Start with a positive (learnt from working days as a supervisor lol) and say you all really like her and concerned all isn't OK as noticed she is snoozing. That you'd like to make the calls better for your Dad with more interaction when he is awake and does she have any questions about his condition. That you need to feel he will be OK and that she isn't dropping off. If she is nice I'm sure it will be fine. I tend to make situations worse in my own head of what they might say etc.

    Some carer s I've had quirt words with take no notice so I've had to speak with agency.

  • I've actually tang the agency now as when I told dad this morning that, that carer, is coming for respite his response was f*** (he hardly uses such language) I asked him what he meant, he said she doesn't talk to me n snoozes 😢 I've told the agency manager that she is lovely but she doesn't make conversation, didn't mention the snoozing, from next week, we will have a different carer for respite n care calls (one that really makes dad laugh a lot) so thx you darling for your advice x

  • That's brilliant they are sending someone in who your Dad likes. Well done you for getting that sorted for him x

  • Thx u spiral sparkle I just wish people had the common sense not to fall asleep and to try n make conversation, I'm also finding some cleaning jobs for them to do too! After all, mum n I run about doing stuff all the time, in between seeing to dad, so I'm sure they can too....fine line I suppose x

  • Yes all again depends on carer as some of ours offer to do stuff and others can't get out the door quick enough!

  • Well done Satt for yet again fighting your dads corner, just more issues that should not have to be dealt with, the carer obviously is not a carer and is in the wrong job, as nice as she is xxx

  • Again, well said Ss!

  • Well said Ss!

  • Agreeing with Spiral Sparkle, but I would add: Ask her if she is OK? She will be on a low wage and doing horrendous hours - possibly. Showing some concern for her well being as well as being firm will likely help her improve her commitment and feel less challenged.

    Avoid emotive words, opinions and judgements and stick to facts and what you expect and you will be fine.

    We are in the process of changing agencies - despite them having some good carers they cannot get anything like decent time keeping and we have had to ask them to stop sending about four staff now because of attitude or poor skills / training / concentration.

    Good luck!



  • Think we will be changing too as I've had to refuse staff andnow they have told me I can't refuse anymore and keep sending people in mum is not comfortable with and call times keep changing.mum is now dreading them coming.

  • That's the state we got to. If you have it in you for one more go you could raise your concern about the other staffs 'training needs' and the fact that they will also be going into peoples homes who do not have someone to advocate for them. A 'use only once' bomb is to mention that you vave read their CQC report. Once they realise you know about the CQC and its role they tend to be very careful indeed.

    You probably knew all of the above, better to write it than to assume though.

  • They have just had a CQC assessment funnily enough. They are one of the best agencies around here but lately can't keep hold of staff and morale is low. I'm waiting for a meeting with manager to raise all my concerns in person. They are well aware I am not happy. When meeting will be though don't know as we both keep getting ill with bugs and can't shift them. Another issue with carers coughing and sneezing when here and spreading germs!

  • We call it the Agency Dance.

    After continuous struggles we have resolved everything except time keeping. The agency is in another town and a car brings the care staff to our town and ferries them between calls... needless to say time keeping becomes impossible for them.

    One of the two local agencies now has some spare capacity... Changing agencies is like buying a car. You never really know about it until you have driven it for a while and then its too late.

    Coming in sneezing etc is completely unacceptable... madness.

    Anyway good luck.

  • "Good morning Career, Welcome, heres your mask and gloves....: "Why?" [truth goes here] or "we don't want you getting sick, dear"

    Just a thought


  • Thx Kevin I am actually lovely to the carers, always asking how they are, offering drinks etc, sometimes I think they take advantage of my good nature! Well no more, I don't want my dad being anymore upset than he already is, isn't having Psp enough to deal with? X

  • I'm sure you are nice to them.

    Just 'best advice thass'all :)

    These are the things I remind myself.


  • Yes you can tell who is taking advantage and who is genuine. It is a fine line or remaining professional and building up a good relationship. I go with how Mum is around them to see how she likes and feels comfortable with. Mum would never say who she doesn't like directly as she has no confidence and also is not in her nature so I look at her body language and ask if I'm picking up a dislike! Like your Dad she has remarked when I say who is coming with being unhappy. Some.of the carers she loves though and they have a good rapport. Not sure they really get her condition but can't have it all they do the job well.

  • True, very true! X

  • Is your dad able to have a conversation? Brian says very little and even less to strangers. I tell the sitters to bring a book or some knitting (tends to occupy them). They will do a spot of light housework and even the ironing if i have any. There is also a jigsaw puzzle on the table that they can't resist. I do not expect them to sit there and do nothing (think i would dose off). All i ask is they pop in every now and then to see if he is ok and give him a some fluid wich i have already thickend for them.

    I couldn't sit in the same room as Brian for a couple of hours without my eyelids drooping so i wouldn't expect anyone else to do the same. Get them to do something washing up ironing anything to occupy them. When i did any sitting i always asked is there anything you want done whilst you are out. Nine times out of ten it was always the ironing. Janexx

  • Thx Jane

    Yes dad can have a lil conversation for a short while, but he does sleep a lot too, I do appreciate and completely understand how difficult it is but some interaction is a must, surely? However I will now be getting the ironing board out along with a duster lol! X

  • ;)

    Give her a book to read TO dad! If it is something she likes, (you might talk about authors carer likes) She will read it with a bit of zeal...I read to B and indeed it's rather enjoyable...

  • Ironing...I can't believe y'all still iron...I mean I know I don't go anywhere but even if and when I did , I did not iron....what an undainty family I mus'tve dressed! haha


  • Ooh! I hate ironing! I might give that a try! My guy's carers talk at him TOO much, and he hates the yammering after a while and will pretend to sleep. I don't mind if they nap, as long as they can wake up if he decides to get up and go!

  • Ec i hate ironing so much that i had to find and then clean the iron (thick dust) and dust off the board before i could leave it out for the sitter. But if I did a sitting job i loved ironing (was grateful) because i found that most people just don't want to have four hours of a stranger talking away to them. And if you are in between personal care rounds you are tired and then haveing nothing to occupy you makes it hard for you to keep your eyes open.

    I think i can always see the job from both sides having done care for a living i know what they have to do so i try to help where i can. Mind you it does make me less tolarant of those that don't do the job as it should be done...... Janexx

  • If it is something you think she does regularly I think I would stay at home the next time she is due and catch her napping. You could then wake her up and say you have noticed her napping before and are worried about going out when she is here in case she falls asleep and that you need time away from home. Tell her you know how easy it is to doze off if you have nothing to do but if she interacts more with dad it may help her stay awake. Tell her you like her sitting with your dad but are worried something may happen if she dozes off.

    Some carers have several jobs for different agencies and are just too exhausted to do it all. We have had night nurses who slept when my husband was still mobile and falling frequently. One woke me up, her down stairs and me in bed upstairs, snoring so loudly and sleeping so deeply I had to physically shake her to wake her. She owned a hotel with her husband and went straight from us to work in the hotel. Another went from supposedly doing a waking night sit for us, straight to the local hospital to do a day shift. I phoned the agency about both of these and said I didn't want them back. I'd have a chatty conversation with your carer and find out what she does at other times...does she get enough sleep at night or is she working, looking after elderly relatives, small children who don't sleep much etc.

    When Crossroads carers come to my husband it is he who is asleep most of the time and they offer to do little jobs for me so I leave things for them to do ie empty the dishwasher (which I probably wouldn't use just for me but make sure it needs emptying when they are due). They will also hang washing out etc. They give C his PEG feed and change him if necessary but play on their IPads if there is nothing to do. It depends what sort of agency the carers come from. Crossroads are there for me, our other agency is there for my husband. What does the care plan say your carer should do.

    It is horrible when something like this happens, especially if you like the person concerned....a lot easier if you can't stand them!

    I hope you find a way of speaking to her very soon as thinking about what you are going to say can cause more stress than actually saying it.

    Thinking of you.


  • Thx u NannaB I've now phoned the agency and have another very nice carer doing the respite from next week, dad really likes her! I will ensure there are some jobs for her to do too! Why is everything such a mission? Fancy having someone in that was in such a deep sleep that you had to shake them, utterly disgraceful!! X

  • So that's another thing you can tick off the list of things to do. I bet there are plenty more on the list though.

    I'm pleased that problem has been sorted.


  • I agree with Jane, get her to do something to keep her busy. I don't do any household chores anymore. I have a cleaner, but my Carers, change the bed, put the sheets in the wash. Do my ironing, not very well, but hey ho! Put the Hoover around, empty the dishwasher, you name it. How about getting her to read to your Dad, is he up to playing cards or any simple game? You will be surprised what he can do, S regularly plays Backgammon, with one of his Carers. But he can't do anything like that with me. There are a hundred and one ways of her being able to stimulate your Dad and keep herself awake, without upsetting the apple cart, it's finding them is the hard bit!

    Lots of love


  • Thx heady

    I will ensure by next week I have a list of chores! Dad won't play games because he doesn't really have any hand co ordination but I think ill mention word games ie you say a word like a girls name and then dad has to say one, it's good speech therapy! This morning dad tried to slap himself when he couldn't get his words out and said stupid bloke! Love his heart!! I told him don't do that n your not stupid, it's the bloody Psp! X

  • Is she day or night nurse/carer...what is in the contract about breaks...granted this is probably more than a 15 minute nap we are talking about?....If you are not happy with the help , you could tell her boss...???

    Hey well at least someone is getting some respite ,eh? (she says sarcastically)


  • Lol, she comes at 12pm to do personal care with another carer n then stays til 4pm when the other carer arrives for next lot of personal care, they only care for dad, so they have anything between 2 and 4 hours breaks in between, x

  • I wonder if Caregivers (US terminology) could get paid for being the carer....

    Hahaha then you could call the boss and tell him how wonderful this carer is...and, " is there a way to give them a raise as I have heard her talk of leaving...." haha


  • How about " you're fired!" Or is that tactless ?

  • morning!

    we had similiar problem, turning up in ripped jeans hoodie and converse trainers! just quietly told her not safe for her or rog to be dressed like like to perform clinical duties, next time in uniform and hair tied back!

    now have same guy coming in for all visits, and i know we are very lucky, we are all vulnerable but don't let your carers forget they are performing professional duties even though not nurses , and always smile!!!

    you all have a great weekend

    julie and rogx

  • Bless you thx Julie

    You n Rog take care! 💋

  • We also have had all the above issues. I have got so I only go out while the ones I know from experience will give Ron good care play board games with him and help with doing his laundry etc. It defeats the reason for respite when you have to keep telling them what to do and stay home. I want to scream some times. I have a few good ones now. The ones that do not want to work quit if you stay and consistantly keep giving them something to do.

  • We had similar issues and asked the girls to do some light excercise with mum. I showed them exactly what they had to do and asked them to help so that it happens on their shift. It helps mum to avoid bed sores, reduces stiffness and pain and gives the carer something to do. Mum is bedbound so very simple excercises to ensure their is movement in all limbs. Hope this helps.

  • Ooh another fab idea, thank you!! X

  • We have just two regular aides, one privately hired and one mostly subsidized and through an agency, and we had a physical therapist and an occupational therapist AND a speech therapist each give them a little training on some exercise routines. They try to do some every day, although my guy doesn't always cooperate. It does give some structure to their shifts for them all, though, and does help keep my guy in better working order. One aide was a massage therapist and took it on herself to deal with his swollen feet and ankles. She gives him a foot massage every day, and they are lovely again! She is a wonderful person, a VERY lucky find for us, and worth every penny we pay her.

    I hope you get some better help soon.

  • Another great suggestion! Thx u Easterncedar x

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