New clash over care company

PUBLISHED: 15:39 19 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

A CARE company suspended last year has come under fire again for its treatment of an elderly woman. Paul Eldridge, who lives more than 300 miles away from his St Albans-based mother Dora, is furious about the hit and miss treatment she is receiving at the

A CARE company suspended last year has come under fire again for its treatment of an elderly woman.

Paul Eldridge, who lives more than 300 miles away from his St Albans-based mother Dora, is furious about the hit and miss treatment she is receiving at the hands of Supporta Care.

The company took over the care contract for the St Albans district last April but a month later it was suspended by Herts County Council following a deluge of complaints about the services it was giving its elderly clients.

Supporta Care was reinstated in August but Mr Eldridge maintains there are still problems with the service they provide particularly in school holidays when his mother's regular carers can't come.

Mrs Eldridge, who is 92, is unable to get out of bed on her own and needs assistance with meals and bathing. She receives visits from carers for three quarters of an hour in the morning, 15 minutes at lunchtime and a further 15 minutes in the evening.

But particularly in school holidays, the timing of those visits is random and the carers can arrive as late as 10.45am to get her out of bed.

Mr Eldridge said: "Yesterday they got her up at 7.30am and then the next call was at 4.50pm to give her dinner. When she queried it, the carer said she had forgotten her. Directly there is a school holiday, her regular carers disappear and she has anyone they can rake up. I am getting fed up with phone calls from my distressed mother saying she is still in bed or has been left in the lounge."

He said that he had taken up the problems with both Supporta Care and the county council and had been told they were doing the best they could. "Our argument is that their best is not good enough," he went on.

Mr Eldridge pays for the service through the county and maintained that the bill was often not correct and varied from month to month even though the carers came for the same periods of time each day. He now pays a set amount each month regardless of the figure his mother is billed for.

He added: "During term time the service is adequate but the same thing will happen at Easter and Whitsun. If they can do the job correctly in term times why can't they do it the rest of the time? My mother should not be left in bed for up to 12 hours at a time.

"Despite my mother's age, she won't go into a care home but if they keep leaving her in distress, one day they will come in and she won't be alive."

A spokesperson for the county council admitted they were aware of the situation and were sorry that Mrs Eldridge had experience problems with her home care provider.

He added: "We have been working with Supporta Care to ensure that her care arrangements are satisfactory in the future.

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