Healthwatch England have analysed the experiences of 3,415 home care users, their families and front line staff across 52 local areas between August 2015 and June 2017. Over 400,000 people with dementia use home care services.
Most people surveyed were positive about their home care , saying it was an invaluable service that enabled people to remain in their own home and to maintain as much independence as possible. However, Healthwatch discovered four themes across their research to help commissioners provide and regulate social care services:
- Staff were unfamiliar with their clients’ care plans and on first time visits insufficient time was often allowed to enable them to read the care plan
- Some staff lacked experience and basic skills, such as being able to wash someone or make them breakfast
- Staff arrived at different times and even missed appointments, which did not meet the needs of the service user
- Providers need to look to make greater and more regular use of feedback to address problems early and prevent minor issues turning into complaints
Rob Burley, Director of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society said: “The key themes of this report expose that homecare workers are not fairly or adequately equipped with the skills they need to support vulnerable people with dementia who make up 60% of homecare users and have very complex needs. We have heard of cases where poor quality homecare is leaving too many people with dementia spending the day in soiled clothing, going without food or water, or ending up in costly hospital or care home admissions.
“This is yet another warning signal that the crumbling social care system is laying intolerable stress on both staff and people with dementia, leaving homecare workers with their hands tied behind their backs. Social care reform must be top of the Government’s agenda, and we must have a properly funded system that ensures that people with dementia can live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, fully supported by well-trained homecare workers.”