Care row erupts over disabled woman’s bath-time

CARE ROW ...  Jacqueline Shepard has complained about the time allocated for her twice-weekly bath by a private care company.
CARE ROW ... Jacqueline Shepard has complained about the time allocated for her twice-weekly bath by a private care company.

A DISABLED woman in South Tyneside claims carers are not being given enough time to bathe vulnerable people.

Jacqueline Shepard became embroiled in a row with her private care company over her twice-weekly bath.

Mrs Shepard, 54, of Eskdale Drive, Jarrow, who suffers from a muscle-wasting disease and can only walk very short distances with support, said her carer from Comfort Call always seemed to be pressed for time when bathing her.

She said: “As part of my care package, I was getting bathed twice a week by Care Comfort, but my carer always seemed to be in a rush.

“She was only given 30 minutes to give me a bath on a Friday, when I feel it should have been up to an hour.

“I thought the time she had wasn’t long enough.

“I rang the company to express my concerns, but this caused problems with my carer and now my contract with the company has been terminated.

“It’s a pity, because I got on well with my carer, but now the council is looking for an alternative care company.”

Mrs Shepard added: “The lack of time given to carers to bathe people is something being raised all over the country.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said an alternative care provider has now been provided for Mrs Shepard, who had both accepted and rejected care in the interim.

The spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting vulnerable adults, and put appropriate care packages in place to meet the needs of individual service users.

“In every case, a personal needs assessment is carried out to ensure an appropriate amount of time is allocated for essential support, such as bathing. This is in line with national guidelines.

“The safety and wellbeing of our vulnerable adults is of paramount importance, and every effort is made to ensure that the level and quality of care they receive is maintained.

“When issues are raised about an individual’s care plan, we work with partner agencies to review the support provided, and offer a reassessment to make sure their needs are being fully met.”

A spokesman for Comfort Call said: “We deliver care to all our service users, in accordance with their specific care plans, as set forward by the social worker.

“Should the service user require amendments to their package, we make every effort to communicate that to the relevant parties.”

Twitter @terrykelly16