Ward-Boy Woes – What a wardboy does and what he ( mainly) doesn’t

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Ward-boys are a different kettle of fish, I discovered in the last few weeks.

I’d always heard of Ward-boys and even seen them working in people’s homes. But little did I know just what it is  a Ward-Boy does and what it is  he doesn’t.

Looking after a sick person is difficult when you yourself are a senior citizen. Naturally we enlisted the help of a ward-boy from a reputed agency. I soon discovered that there is nothing like a reputed agency much less a dedicated and committed ward-boy. In fact, I heard that every one has struggled with this issue simply because as older people looking after even older people, we are at the mercy of these so called ‘para-medics’ who claim to provide perfect health care in the comfort of your very home.

Ward-boy, ward-boy where are you?

Yesterday we struggled with home care because the Day Wardboy never showed up . Unfortunately, this came right on the heels of the night when the Ward Boy for the night didn’t show up either !

  1. When I called the agency that provided the service , I was told that they could only provide a substitute WardBoy if they know 24 hours in advance that the man wouldn’t show up.
  • But can a WardBoy plan his illness 24 hours in advance ?
  • No, but if he does fall ill you should adjust!
  • Adjust?
  • Yes , we are humans after all!
  • But we’ve asked for your help in taking care of a sick person !
  • Too bad.

2.  Ward Boys are at liberty to show up at will and not show up. They have the right to inconvenience patients.

Having come up with a stone wall, I asked them about the non-appearance of the night WardBoy. I was shocked by the exchange that followed .

  • Your duty is too hard.
  • What do you mean ‘too hard ‘?
  • How can you expect someone to work for 12 hours?
  • Well, that’s what you signed up for ! Besides the patient isn’t up for 12 hours. He goes to sleep too . You can sleep at that time if you have to.
  • No, the Ward Boy needs regular breaks.
  • Really?
  • So what about the regular snores I hear ? I’ve seen the Ward Boy putting his head on the patient’s bed and snoring . He didn’t have his eyes open for sure!

The stony silence at the other end meant that the manager didn’t buy my story.

I explained that there are many jobs that require people to work the ‘graveyard shift’ and they don’t expect regular breaks. In long haul flights for instance, two sets of crew work in shifts in order to ensure seamless working .

But the Ward Boys and their management seemed to think that their mere presence was enough help!

In all these years I’ve realised one thing:

Professionalism is dead.

Commitment to a job is even more dead.

  1. While Unionization may have prevented exploitation of labour, Organisation has increased exploitation of employers.

  2. As consumers, we have to pay top dollar to indifferent, unprofessional Service providers who are only interested in getting a commission from the staff they provide .

  3. And as for Ward Boys , particularly the night ward boys, they are only interested in getting a bed for the night – especially one that they are paid to use !

In the past few weeks we’ve found out that Ward Boys need to be treated with more than kid gloves :

  1. They need regular tea/smoke breaks

  2. They get offended if you tell them to attend to the patient rather than their mobile phones

  3. They expect YOU to provide them with washed and ironed work clothes .

  4. And today I heard him say that the patient has to listen to HIM rather than the other way round .

  5. And can you believe this is happening in a home where there is constant supervision of a family member . I’d hate to imagine what the Ward Boy would do if the patient is left entirely in his care. In other words the Ward Boy particularly the night boy would prefer to deal with a comatose patient rather than someone who may just recover and be fit again.

What would you do in this situation ?

One of the most difficult aspects of home care for the elderly or infirm is dealing with incompetent staff. Would you continue taking nonsense from the Ward Boy or do you think my attitude is ‘feudalistic’ or ‘unrealistic’?

Would love to get your feed back in the comments.


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Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. Gosh! That’s so unprofessional. But guess that’s the norm at most places.
    Have no experience of hiring ward-boys but have seen that hired helps from agencies lack commitment and professionalism big-time. Hope you are able to find a better support system and speedy recovery to your loved one!

    1. Yes I’ve come to the conclusion that the bane of our country is that we accept mediocrity and let others take us for a ride . I’m waiting for the day when we can use machines and although life will get expensive at least we won’t depend on dolts to do a bad job that we pay through our noses for

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