A report from a health care watchdog group revealed the experiences of thousands of home care users in the U.K.—and not everything they had to say was positive.
In fact, many people receiving home care services, including washing, dressing and medication help, were let down by providers and frequently neglected. However, the majority of home care agencies—four out of five in England—provide good quality care, the report found. There are more than 8,500 home care providers in England.
The study, “Home Care: What People Told Healthwatch About Their Experiences,” examined the experiences of 3,415 home care users, their families and frontline staff between August 2015 and June 2017, through 52 local Healthwatch locations, which make up the independent national group focused on people who use health and social care services in England.
Here are some of the top findings:
Care Planning Findings
– Many care staff go above and beyond care plans by delivering extra things to look after clients, possibly because care plans need to be more comprehensive in the first place
– Some staff were unfamiliar with their clients’ care plans and cited insufficient time to read them on a first visit
– 56% of respondents said there was sufficient time to complete all tasks in the care plan
– One in seven respondents said they had missed medication due to the home care provider
– “Sometimes they give me a shower, but they go over their time. But 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,” said one care user.
Skills and Qualifications Findings
– Many respondents said they “valued the dedication and experience of those sent to care for them,” but others cited serious lack of experience in their caregivers
– One respondent said her carers were “unable to boil and egg or make the bed”
– Lack of investment in staff training and development was attributed to many experiences, along with significant workforce pressures
Choice and Consistency
– Care users should be given a choice of care provider, though 75% of respondents said they did not feel adequately involved in the selection of their care provider
– Families had significant influence over the choice of provider, but little flexibility when selecting what times care staff would visit, resulting in 3:30 p.m. dinner times
– Coming at different times and missing appointments was also cited as problematic
Communication and Feedback
– More feedback could help staff tailor service to clients’ needs, though many care staff cited a lack of communication with their organizations
– 27% of care staff said they were reluctant to raise a complaint for fear of a negative career impact
Written by Amy Baxter