Minister warns on rushed home care
Thursday 17th October 2013, 12:11AM BST.
The rushed approach to home care for elderly and disabled people is “stripping away the human element of caring”, the Care and Support Minister has warned.
Social care officials are to examine whether rushed care visits rob elderly and disabled people of their dignity, Norman Lamb announced.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been tasked with looking into whether 15-minute care visits give care workers enough time to respond to people’s needs, he said.
The health and care regulator will perform “tough checks” to see whether the short visits strip vulnerable people of their dignity and whether they put unfair pressure on staff, Mr Lamb added.
Social care commissioners have faced fury recently after it emerged that the number of 15-minute care visits are on the rise.
A damning report, released earlier this month by Leonard Cheshire Disability, estimated that the number of “flying” care visits has risen by 15% over the last five years.
Three-quarters of local councils now commission some of their care in 15-minute slots.
The charity said the short visits “simply do not allow enough time to deliver good-quality care”.
But social care leaders argued that sometimes the timeslots are adequate because they as simply used to administer medicine or other tasks that do not require longer than 15 minutes.
Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference, Mr Lamb will say that, from April next year, the CQC will also consider staff working conditions.
A recent report concluded that people who receive care in their homes are at risk of “vulnerable, neglectful or abusive treatment” because of poor working conditions for care givers.
Care workers face a combination of inadequate pay, high pressure and a lack of support, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said.
The poor working conditions threaten the human rights of people in need of home care, it added.
Mr Lamb said: “The current approach to home care is not fair on those who need support, it’s not fair on care workers and it is stripping away the human element of caring.
“Fifteen minutes is not enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed.
“Some do not even get the chance to have a conversation with their home care worker, who may be the only person they see that day.
“These tougher checks would ask specific questions about the amount of time allocated for visits and whether staff are suitably supported to do this. This is particularly important because these are services delivered in private, behind closed doors.
“I want to build a fairer society, and that means providing better care in care homes, and in people’s own homes.”