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UNISON report reveals carers need more time to look after the elderly and ill

15th February 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

In a recent survey, carried out by public service union UNISON, participants revealed concern about how much time was given to elderly and ill patients on home visits. Nearly 74 per cent of homecare workers responded that they were not allocated enough time to provide adequate care when they visited older or disabled patients.

Fortunately, today we have access to a number of different mobility solutions like home stairlifts that can help people needing support to have some independence in their own home, but as the resulting report demonstrates, home visits are still a crucial part of looking after someone in their later years and more time must be dedicated to providing dignified care.

UNISON’s report, Suffering Alone at Home, discovered that three quarters of participating homecare workers felt that the time allowed to elderly patients simply wasn’t long enough to meet the care needs of each individual. In the West Midlands, for example, worryingly nine in ten local authorities are still limited to just 15 minutes per older, ill or disabled patient. 

The troubling results were collected from 1,100 homecare workers in an online survey, as well as from a Freedom of Information request sent to the 152 local authorities that commission social care visitation in England.

The survey revealed the same shortfall to that of a similar survey carried out in 2014, with 74 per cent (the same as this year) of councils regularly relying on 15-minute windows to provide any necessary care. Alarmingly, the 2015 survey further divulges that the majority of care workers in England, 61 per cent, believe that they had had to rush their care work with patients who were over 90 years old to fit the limited time frame allocated to each person.

Just over half of all care providers who responded said that at one time or another they had to provide personal care to an elderly patient they had never met before in just 15 minutes. The majority of these professionals found the restricted visits distressing as they were often caring for people suffering from dementia or mobility issues.

The UNISON report also detailed how more than a third of care workers felt that their visits were important, as in some cases patients hardly spent time with friends or relatives, and their sessions provided a source of sociability to patients who were otherwise isolated.

UNISON has suggested that they are not surprised by the results, given the financial bind that local authorities are in but as the survey reveals, care givers in the country are unhappy with the current system. The Government and these local authorities must listen to the concerns of workers on the frontline of care, only doing this will they be able to provide dignified, quality care to those in later life.

Image Credit: Myfuture.com (flickr.com)