a call

Three quarters of council care visits too short for basic care

A Freedom of Information survey has disclosed that 74 per cent of local authorities are only offering home care for 15 minutes at a time.

The survey, by Unison, found of 149 local councils 110 were only offering 15 minute home visits to elderly people in their care, causing concerns there are no plans by the Care Quality Commission to increase the minimum amount of time that can be spent caring for the elderly.

Care workers have said they do not have enough time to complete basic care within this time, with many patients requiring help with washing, dressing and eating. Carers also have to ensure that their clients have taken their medication.

Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, said, “what we are seeing is the institutionalisation of dangerously low levels of care which compromises the dignity of the elderly and vulnerable people in our community who rely on this care, and places unfair pressures on home-care workers.”

Peter Jenkins, Director of Leonard Cheshire Disability Campaigns, said pensioners were being forced to choose between eating or being taken to the lavatory during their care visit. “Fifteen minutes is simply not long enough to deliver quality personal care.”

Fiona Lowry, CEO of The Good Care Group, added that the needs of elderly people cannot be met in 15 minute slots: “It is our belief that in-home care should never be less than an hour a day. Visits of shorter durations than this mean that the carer will not be able to fully understand the needs of the individual and provide the level of support required.”

In response, local councils said cuts to their funding were to blame, and an additional £400 million was required just to maintain services.