Latest Public Sector News

18.10.13

15 minute home care visits ‘not fair’

Home care visits should be subject to tougher checks, care minister Norman Lamb has warned. Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference, he said that visits of just 15 minutes were damaging to both staff and patients. 

From next April, the CQC is proposing to look at whether home care visits are long enough to respond to people’s needs, whether this care is delivered with compassion, how many staff are on zero hours contracts and the level of staff turnover. 

Too many workers are being paid less than minimum wage to make sure people get basic levels of support in a very short space of time. 

Lamb said: “The current approach to home care is not fair on those who need support, it’s not fair on care workers and it is stripping away the human element of caring. 

“Fifteen minutes is not enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. Some do not even get the chance to have a conversation with their home care worker, who may be the only person they see that day. 

“These tougher checks would ask specific questions about the amount of time allocated for visits and whether staff are suitably supported to do this. This is particularly important because these are services delivered in private, behind closed doors. I want to build a fairer society, and that means providing better care in care homes, and in people’s own homes.” 

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive & general secretary of the RCN said: “It’s right that the Government is looking into this issue – delivering quality care for people with complex needs takes time, and patients need reassurance that they have been properly assessed at each visit. 

“In order for staff to produce the right quality of care, they need to be given adequate time so that they don’t feel like they are being rushed or overloaded with work. We also need to ensure more generally that staff are given time and support to develop their skills. 

“What’s also important is that those who commission services place as much importance on the time and quality they allocate to care as they do the cost.” 

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