A new report reveals that care for the elderly in their own homes is not up to standard. Not only are time slots too short, costs vary according to where you live. So why aren’t older people’s very basic needs being met?
People left in bed for 17 hours or more, left in filthy nightwear and not washed regularly by their carers: it sounds like Dickensian England.
Unfortunately, it’s the interim report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, following an inquiry into care of older people in their own homes.
With over a million people receiving care and support at home (and 81% of that provided by the independent sector) it falls under the inspection remit of regulator the Care Quality Commission.
Home care vs. care homes
We recently investigated what was happening in care homes – sending actors to live as residents to experience what’s really happening – and found that the regulator had spotted problems earlier but failed to get them rectified.
When I started a conversation on how care homes are failing, your many and varied responses proved that there’s a huge disparity in the quality of care being given in homes. Many of you sang the praises of your relatives’ homes, while others felt extremely let down.
Why aren’t basic needs being met?
It’s worrying to think that the same is happening in people’s own homes, and – together with the squeeze on council funding – it begs the question of what cuts really mean for vulnerable people who are dependent on carers to meet their most basic needs. For example, the brief 15-minute visit slots mean that people are left with impossible choices – such as a cooked meal or a wash.
We’ve reported on the postcode lottery when it comes to getting and paying for this care – some provide it free, while others demand £20 an hour. Many councils won’t provide it at all unless your needs are ‘critical’ – but now the spotlight is on the quality you can expect.
Are stories of neglect and carers rushing between visits and speeding through tasks the tip of the iceberg? What do you think should be done to improve the quality of care in the home?