As I shared in my last blog, we had to terminate my son’s aide. She’d been with us for a few years and it was something we struggled with for some time, knowing that my son needed to be the priority, rather than her illness and the constant crises and drama she brought to our home.
November 1, 2016, as per direction from the Human Resources Dept. of the agency we work with, the aide was terminated. November 2, our backup aide covered hours with our son. On the 3rd, they went out to my son’s volunteer position and found that the Dept. where he volunteers was not accessible, the lights were on, but the doors were locked. They had never encountered that before. Luckily, she knew where they key was kept and was able to retrieve it. When she unlocked the door and went inside, the former aide was inside. When she looked up and saw them, she ran out a side door.
When they got home and shared with me what had happened, I called the head of the volunteer department and discussed the situation with her. I asked her if there was any reason she was aware of for the doors to be locked. She assured me there was not, acknowledging that it seemed more than a coincidence that the aide was there, inside the locked room. She looked on the computer and determined that she had not signed in to volunteer, therefore was not permitted to be in the area. Immediately, upon learning that we had to let our aide go, the volunteer supervisor said, “that was intimidation, today.” She went on to say they wanted the hospital to be a safe work environment for my son and that this person, if not coming in with my son, had no reason to ever be there on the same days he is. She assured me that she would not be permitted to be there on the days of the week that my son is and that she would be moved to a different department if she still wanted to volunteer on her own time, but technically, she was approved to be there based on being my son’s aide, so she really shouldn’t be there, but especially not without signing in.
I was given instructions to share with our backup aide, as to how we should handle it, should they encounter the former aide in the building again. They are to go to the security station, report her, call the volunteer department and wait until she’s been located and removed from the hospital.
That occurred November 3, 2016. On January 10, 2017 our new aide was supposed to accompany the backup aide, job shadowing, so she could learn the responsibilities at the volunteer location. That morning, our backup aide called and explained she and her kids were sick the night before. She’d gotten 2 hours of sleep and couldn’t work. She volunteered to come to the house, meet with the new aide, go over everything and give her, her cell phone number, so they could text throughout the day. We had no choice but to go with this plan. Our new aide indicated she felt she had enough information, enough different people, via contact numbers, she could consult if she needed help, they would be fine.
When my son and his new aide arrived, signed in and went to the room where they work, they had no more stepped inside the door and they were immediately confronted by a family member of our former aide who also volunteers and is also there as a job coach for another agency. She also happens to work for the same agency we use, as well.
She approached my son and his aide, demanding to know if she was with my son, if she was permanent or temporary, if she had been trained. Our aide said that she told her she was permanent, as long as my son would have her and he said she’s not going anywhere. Our aide informed her that she had a lot of instructions and felt comfortable with what they were doing, if she needed help, she’d ask someone. When they were getting settled, this other individual brought over a box of materials and a folder with stickers in it. When my son’s aide looked at the sticker on the box and the number on the stickers she immediately realized they didn’t match. She brought this to her attention and she laughed, said it must be mistake.
My son’s aide expressed to me that she felt she was being set up, that it was a test, that this individual was trying to sabotage her performance with my son. Later, a co-worker of this other individual approached my son’s aide, scolding her to not give any other work, but items with a certain number on it, to a special needs individual who was there with another agency. Our aide explained that she was not there to work with anyone but my son, that she did not, would not, give any work to the other individual. Again, she felt as if this relative of our former aide was putting this woman up to doing this.
When they returned home and told me what happened, I called the volunteer department at the hospital and asked if this individual had more responsibility, more of a role at the hospital than I was aware of. I was assured she did not, was not an employee of the hospital, had no responsibility to train or direct anyone in that department and in fact was signed in as a job coach that day. I called the local agency this person works for and talked to her direct supervisor, explaining that I don’t appreciate their employee interfering with my son’s services. They explained to me that she was NOT there on the clock, was in fact there as a private person on her own time. The supervisor agreed with me that this individual had no business even approaching my son or his aide. I was assured that the supervisor would call her and address it with her and that she was going to talk to the folks at the volunteer dept. at the hospital, that she was not comfortable with them allowing this person to sign in as a job coach when she was not on the clock as a job coach, was not there with a client.
Within a day, I got a call from the volunteer dept. explaining they didn’t realize she was there on her own time, rather than accompanying a client. They gave her a second designation of ‘volunteer’ and instructed her to use it when she was volunteering on her own time so her time was accurately recorded. I thanked them for letting me know.
I made contact with the second agency she is employed by because I wanted them to know what had happened and allow them to see if she was on the clock with them. They agreed with me, she had no business even approaching my son and his aide. They acknowledged that if she’s there on her own time, she’s a volunteer, with no more authority than my son has, having no business trying to direct anyone.
When my son and his aide returned to the volunteer position on the 12th, this individual was there, but stayed on the other side of the room, in the corner and didn’t interact. I’d been told that both her employers and the hospital had explained to her that she has no authority in the department.
Everyone agreed with me that it appeared to be intimidation, both the former aide showing up and the doors being locked so my son couldn’t get in to volunteer, apparently wanting to see who was going to come in with him AND her relative being aggressive with our new aide.
We’ve discussed our options and determined that if this nonsense continues, we’ll have to pursue getting restraining orders against them both.
It’s such a shame, such a negative reflection on both of these individuals, that they would choose to intimidate a person with special needs. I felt bad about having to let our former aide go, but this nonsense reassures me that we did the right thing and my son was right in no longer feeling comfortable about being with her.
I’m tired of putting up with this ridiculousness. No more! People need to take responsibility for their own actions.