Southport councillor backs new call for better longer Home Care visits

29th September 2015

Home care visits to elderly people should last for at least half an hour and focus on what they can or would like to do rather than on what they can’t do, says a local Health watchdog.

Councillor, Local Lib Dem Health and Adult Care spokesperson has welcomed the recent declaration by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) that clients of publicly-funded care have a right to basic standards.  He says that Home Care workers mostly want to provide this quality care but sometimes fail due to poor scheduling of their calls and having to take their travelling time out of the care time.

Almost half a million people received home care in England in 2013/14, with 80 per cent of them being over-65. Demand for home care is expected to grow since almost 1 in 4 people in England will be aged 65 and older by 2035. – at a time when the social care sector is facing up to a funding crisis.

NICE’s first guideline for the social care sector sets out recommendations that are aspirational but achievable says Cllr Dawson. He says:

” Many of the NICE recommendations require a change in attitude rather than extra cash.  A number of local authorities are already getting it right and delivering high-quality services.which support the aspirations, goals and priorities of each person, so that that they and their carers are treated with empathy, courtesy and respect.”

He highlights the new NICE guidelines seeking to ensure that each person normally has the same home care worker or workers so that they can become familiar and build a relationship.

NICE say that home care workers should make sure their support focuses on what people can or would like to do rather than a “one size fits all” service. For example, if a person can still feed themselves then they should be supported to do this rather than being spoon-fed.  Commissioning councils should ensure that home care workers are given enough time to do their job without being rushed or compromising the dignity of service users.This includes having enough time to talk to the person and their carer, and adequate travel time between appointments.

Home care visits shorter than half an hour should only be made if the home care worker is known to the person and the visit is part of a wider package of support and the purpose of the visit can be properly undertaken in that time.

Bridget Warr, chief executive of the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), and chair of the NICE guideline group, said: “The help each person needs will differ and it is important that the homecare delivered is tailored specifically to the individual; his or her needs, wishes and aspirations.

Councillor Dawson has instigated a Council Scrutiny Review of the local Home Care system  He says:  “We have some excellent service but some workers are still having to choose which task to do before they have to rush out of the door: this just isn’t acceptable.”

“Home Care workers deserve proper recognition and support to do their jobs well. Giving them enough time is vital to this as is regular training and development .”


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