UK families say that care services for children and older people have got worse in the last five years. But they reserve their harshest criticism for care of older people, particularly home care services, according to reviews reported to Good Care Guide.
More than two-fifths of reviews of home care agencies in 2016 rated them as poor or bad for quality of service and for value for money. This is particularly worrying given government policy is for more older people to be cared for at home and supported outside hospitals or care homes.
Based on an analysis of 9,000 reviews left by families on the Good Care Guide website, the latest research shows:
– In 2012 22.7% of home care agencies were rated poor or bad for quality of service by older people and their families – by 2016 this had almost doubled to 41.6% of home care services getting poor or bad reviews. And the percentage of reviews rating home care agencies as poor or bad for value for money rose from 23.4% in 2012 to 41.3% in 2016.
– Care homes were rated poor or bad for quality of care by 11.8% of reviews in 2012 and by 2016 this had increased to 25.9% of reviews. On value for money, care homes were rated as poor or bad by 12.4% of reviews in 2012 and this had more than doubled to 27.2% in 2016.
– In 2016 82.5% of parents rated the nursery they use as good or excellent for quality of service, compared to 88.7% in 2012; in 2012 9.3% of reviews rated nurseries as poor or bad for value for money – by 2016 this had increased to 12.8%.
– 89.8% of parents using nanny agencies rated them as good/excellent in 2012 compared to 86.5% in 2016
The analysis is published as Good Care Guide marks its fifth anniversary. Good Care Guide is the only website where families can rate and review registered childcare and eldercare services in England, Scotland and Wales, and where positive and negative reviews are published.
Stephen Burke, director of Good Care Guide and director of United for All Ages, said: “Poor reviews for care for older people reflect the growing concerns about the funding of care and the care crisis. With our ageing population and more older people needing care at home, it’s critical that families can access home care services they can rely on. As government puts more of the responsibility onto families for providing and paying for care for older people, we expect their reviews to get even tougher about the quality of care. We must learn from what families think about care.”
Stephen Burke added: “Once again families rate childcare as better than eldercare. There are a lot of changes ahead for childcare in 2017. The government is extending free childcare to thirty hours a week for three and four year olds and introducing childcare tax breaks. These changes will create challenges for childcare providers and for parents. The extra government funding for childcare must be used to help more parents get into and stay in work. Feedback from families will show what difference is being made.”