Standards of Home Care for Elderly Needs Change

by Medindia Content Team on  October 19, 2006 at 2:48 PM Senior Health News
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Standards of Home Care for Elderly Needs Change
The standards of home care for several thousands of elderly people in England have come under criticism from inspectors.

According to the Commission for Social Care Inspection many elderly people found their care givers too rushed, giving insufficient time to build trust.

The practice of giving 15 minute slots of help, before moving on to the next individual, was accused fo being "undignified and unsafe". The government said that although there had been improvements, issues still remained.

Presently home care includes services like help with dressing, washing, feeding or assistance in going to the toilet, but nursing care was not included.

Commission chair Dame Denise Platt said that the report Time to Care? painted a "mixed picture" of the quality of care.

The report called for a rethinking of the way services were offered, so that the people were given more choice.

Dame Denise said: "It is critical that those who commission and provide home care services listen to what people say they want and value. Failure to listen to what people really need, and respond to this, results in missed opportunities to promote independence and to help people live full and rewarding lives. At worst, it can also result in services that do not respect people's rights and dignity."

Laws in England require that anyone with assets over Ģ20,500 pay for their own social care, while those who come below that threshold has their care paid for by the state. The report found that the number of people receiving council-funded home care fell from more than 500,000 homes in 1992 to 354,500 in 2005, despite a rise in the older population.

Moreover the CSCI also found concentration of services on people with the most severe needs, which meant that others were left out. Home care appeared to be often beset with serious problems in recruiting, training and retaining quality staff according to inspectors.

The report said that younger people were given little incentive to work in the care industry, with many finding better-paid jobs in their local supermarkets.

CSCI's Chief Inspector Paul Snell said that since it started regulating the sector three years ago, home care services had improved, but "fundamental change" was still needed.

He said, "There are problems of recruiting, retaining and training good quality staff."

Age Concern's director general, Gordon Lishman, said that although older people would prefer care at home local authorities must "provide the levels of services needed".

He said, "At a time when the government is emphasising care services that enable older people to stay in their own homes, too many frail and vulnerable older people are being let down by under-pressure staff and over-stretched councils who are not providing the care they need."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "There have been many changes for the better but there remain issues of poor quality and reliability that we have to get right in the delivery of home care services."

Source: Medindia

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