Care-at-home re­view launched in bid to im­prove ser­vice

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­

A RE­VIEW of home care in Oban and Lorn, which to­tals 7,000 vis­its per week, is un­der way.

Home care ser­vices have re­duced in Oban and Lorn over the last year, a meet­ing of the Ar­gyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship (HSCP) heard at Oban’s Lorn and Is­lands Hospi­tal on Mon­day evening (Fe­bru­ary 6).

Pamela MacLeod, lo­cal area man­ager, cited un­der­ly­ing fac­tors in a pre­sen­ta­tion, in­clud­ing re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion of staff, in­creas­ing de­mand and more com­plex care re­quire­ments.

The prob­lem has been par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult in Dunol­lie, Gana­van, Dal­mally, Taynuilt, Con­nel, North Con­nel, Ben­der­loch, Bar­cal­dine and on the back road be­tween Oban and Con­nel, she ex­plained.

‘Lots of our car­ers do not drive,’ she said. ‘ We are send­ing car­ers from Oban to all these places. Can we make them more lo­calised?’ She con­firmed later that car­ers do get paid travel time.

Across Oban and Lorn, she con­tin­ued, 258 clients are re­ceiv­ing care-at-home ser­vices, to­talling on av­er­age 3,361.5 hours of sup­port each week.

Since 2013, care-at-home ser­vices have been pro­vided ex­ter­nally in Oban and Lorn, from Carr Gomm, Care Plus, Car­ers Di­rect and Cross­roads.

The re­view, she said, will evaluate and en­cour­age a roll­out of the Ap­pin and Lis­more Com­mu­nity Care Scheme: an in­no­va­tive ‘so­cial en­ter­prise’ model of home care that em- ploys lo­cal car­ers to de­liver care to lo­cal peo­ple and has now re­cruited 11 staff. It will also in­ves­ti­gate the to­tal spend and terms and con­di­tions of cur­rent con­tracts and ‘com­pare cur­rent costs against costs of sim­i­lar ser­vice de­liv­ered in­ter­nally’.

An HSCP spokesper­son added: ‘ We are cur­rently in the process of re­view­ing how the care-at-home ser­vice is pro­vided.

‘We want to en­sure that the model of care meets the needs of those in­di­vid­u­als re­quir­ing the ser­vice and that we also get value for money from our ex­ter- nal providers. We are also keen to high­light the good work that care staff carry out on a daily ba­sis, but at the same time we do need to high­light there have been a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges fac­ing the ser­vice.

‘These in­clude the re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion of staff, the in­crease both in the num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als re­quir­ing care and those who have com­plex care re­quire­ments, as well as the chal­lenge in de­liv­er­ing care at home across a re­mote and ru­ral area such as Oban and Lorn.

‘One of the main pres­sures fac­ing the ser­vice has been the re­ten­tion of staff and we hope the re­cent agree­ment be­tween the providers and the HSCP to in­tro­duce the liv­ing wage for staff will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce staff turnover while at the same time as­sist with the re­cruit­ment of new staff.

‘ We are also work­ing closely with the providers on a range of other re­cruit­ment ini­tia­tives and we will soon be launch­ing neigh­bour­hood re­cruit­ment fairs across the Oban and Lorn ar­eas, as well as pro­mot­ing the ser­vice at a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment re­cruit­ment fair at the Cor­ran Halls in March.’

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