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