Equality and Human Rights Commissions Inquiry into Home Care

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23 November 2011

Below is a copy of a letter sent to the editors of local newpapers in Edinburgh

Sir/Madam - Following the publication today of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s year-long inquiry into home care in England I feel compelled to write to you to say that as the owner of a company specialising in care of the elderly in Edinburgh I wholeheartedly support the findings of the review.

Whilst the report focuses on care in England, we in Scotland need to recognise and acknowledge that traditional home care north and south of the border shares the same systemic problems:

• constraints imposed by local authority contracts mean that care becomes task-based rather than focusing on the needs and dignity of the individual;
• too much to do and not enough time to do it in;
• late and missed appointments & lack of continuity of carer.

Home Instead Senior Care’s stated aim is to change the way care is delivered to the elderly in the UK. Indeed one of the company’s offices was audited as part of the Commission’s review and, owing to our unique approach to care of the elderly, were praised by the EHRC.

We have believed for some time that the current system of care is broken. There is absolutely no excuse for individual neglect but the current system constrains many providers to such a point that compromises in delivering care, for traditional home care providers are almost inevitable.

It’s why we won’t enter into block contracts which force providers into delivering ‘care’ in 15 minute slots and why, for us, the minimum care visit is 1 hour.

Home Instead now has 100 offices across the UK, demonstrating that there is a demand for a more tailored service which focuses absolutely on the needs of the individual.

As well as our minimum 1 hour call, we also offer continuity of care, whereby clients are visited by the same carer on each visit, ensuring that relationships are built. Our care givers do not wear uniforms as client feedback has shown that they create a barrier and also a stigma, particularly when a carer takes a client out into the community.

Quality care cannot be delivered in short duration home visits. The ‘one size fits all’ approach might be commercially convenient but the reality is that quality care begins with an individual and that’s where we start.

I hope that the EHRC’s review leads to change and am proud to be helping to lead the way.

Yours faithfully

Andrew Senew

Home Instead Senior Care, Edinburgh

Useful links:

Home Instead Senior Care’s full response to the EHRC’s inquiry - http://www.homeinstead.co.uk/321/National%20Care%20organisation%20welcomes%20EHRC%20Inquiry.do

The EHRC’s report (full version and executive summary) -

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/legal-and-policy/inquiries-and-assessments/inquiry-into-home-care-of-older-people/close-to-home-report/