15 minutes of care is not enough
Called Suffering Alone at Home, it found that 57 per cent of homecare workers have been asked to provide personal care in 15 minutes or less.
Published by public service union Unison, the report is based on an online survey of 1,100 homecare workers and on data obtained from a Freedom of Information request.
Out of the 152 authorities polled 19 were in the South East, 79 per cent of which - 15 - were regularly using the quarter of an hour visits.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “It is heartbreaking and distressing many elderly and disabled people are not being cared for in a humane and dignified manner. Homecare workers have shared their harrowing stories with a strong sense of sadness, guilt, anger, and social care, the crisis is so great that any extra cash will barely touch the sides. It will also be of little help to deprived areas – where the need for home care visits is greater.
“With the challenge of an ageing population living longer, care planning and adequate funding ultimately disgust, at a broken homecare system.
“Homecare workers are often the only face some people see all day, and they are a lifeline – only they can call for help and ensure that the housebound people they care for are fed, washed and well.
“Although the government is going to allow local authorities to raise council tax to fund social care, it should be a government priority and it clearly is not. Rushed 15 minute homecare visits should have no place in a modern, caring society.”
Trevor Boyd, managing director, communities, health and social care at BCC, said: “We are very clear that all our serviceusers receive the care and support they need at home. In some cases it is entirely appropriate to include a 15 minute call as part of the person’s overall care they receive from Adult Social Care.
“For example, a person might have a 30 to 60 minute call for bathing and dressing, but also a 15 minute call at a different time of the day to check they are okay and have taken their medication, heat their lunch, or help them to the toilet. There are a variety of reasons for a 15 minute call to be appropriate.
“However, if a carer finds that the service-user needs more than 15 minutes then the carer would be expected to stay and also request, where appropriate, for the visit time to be adjusted.”