A report from health watchdog Healthwatch England has revealed that over 3000 people receiving home care have come forward to talk about what they describe as a “lacklustre service.”
Among the number of complaints and comments collected, the report concluded that home care services in England were “in a fragile state”, as well as stating that home care packages were “designed to meet the needs of the service provider rather than the service user.”
Among the many problems noted, a number were specifically highlighted by the health watchdog.
One home care user from Redcar and Cleveland talked about her experiences, where she explained that due to strict time constraints, she was unable to take a shower for two weeks.
“Sometimes they give me a shower but they go over their time. Most of the time they haven’t got the time to give me one so I go a couple of weeks without one and that is not right. I feel dirty,” she said.
Over in Bradford, a woman said her care workers were severely untrained, explaining they were unable to correctly make a bed or prepare basic food.
And for a care user in North London, her reliance on diabetic medication has often caused problems when her care workers arrive late.
“I am diabetic and sometimes carers are late or don’t show up and that really affects my medications and insulin administration,” she said.
Varied Levels of Care
Yet despite a large number of complaints, Healthwatch England did note it had also received a number of positive comments about people’s experiences with home care.
While the amount of praise did outweigh the number of complaints, it does highlight a home care industry that seems to suffer from severe varied levels of care.
“We heard examples of compassionate care from dedicated staff, but people also talked about care that doesn’t meet even basic standards. Given the challenges facing the social care sector, it is more important than ever that people’s voices are heard,” said deputy director of Healthwatch England, Neil Tester.
Chairwoman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, Izzi Seccombe, said that despite the fact that there were more compliments than criticisms, there was still a need to improve the country’s home care services.
“The financial pressure facing services is having an impact and even the very best efforts of councils are not enough to avert the real and growing crisis we are facing in ensuring older people receive the care they deserve,” she said.
“The continuing underfunding of adult social care, the significant pressures of an ageing population and the ‘national living wage’ are combining to heap pressure on the home care provider market.
“This study shows the strain providers are under, and emphasises the urgent need for a long-term, sustainable solution to the social care funding crisis.”
A Helping Hand
If you or a loved one requires more information on all the support available to those considering home care, contact our team at Home Caring today. Our trained team will be able to show you exactly how they can help.