Following the publication today of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into home care, a company specialising in at-home care of the elderly, has welcomed the review and released details of their contribution to the year-long study.
Home Instead’s stated aim is to change the way care is delivered to the elderly in the UK and was founded in the UK by Trevor Brocklebank after he experienced poor care for his grandfather.
Home Instead was audited as part of the Commission’s review and, owing to their unique approach to care of the elderly, were praised by the EHRC.
Brocklebank supports calls for an overhaul of the system. Speaking about the findings of the inquiry he says, “The way in which contracts are operated by many local authorities are seriously flawed and do not allow for the provision of a quality led care service. The constraints imposed by these contracts means that care becomes task-based rather than focusing on the needs and dignity of the individual.
“The most shocking details from the EHRC inquiry are the instances where the older person’s humanity did not seem to be on the agenda at all.
“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.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission Inquiry into older people and human rights in home care paints a mixed picture of the provision of social care to the elderly. Whilst the individual instances of neglect can never be justified the report also states that 50% of the examples of care highlighted were good quality. The concerning commentary from the inquiry is with regard to what could be considered more systematic failure.
For many home care providers the focus is on the tasks that are to be completed or on the logistics of maximising the number of visits per care worker. When the inquiry reports instances of too much to do and not enough time to do it, or rushed visits and an apparent lack of care the problem is as much about the pressures that are placed on care workers, as it is about the quality of care that they provide.
Home Instead was pleased to have to opportunity to take part in the EHRC Inquiry. Whilst not mentioned specifically in the report the organisation was singled out by the EHRC for taking a different approach, which provides a uniquely better standard of care.
The feedback from the EHRC raised the following items as worthy of praise;
· Having well trained and supported staff who engage with and listen to the wishes of older people.
· The manager of care workers having an initial visit with each person receiving home care to establish a relationship.
· Taking steps to facilitate complaints – such as making sure that older people knew how to raise issues of concern and that they meet a manager from the agency so would feel more confident in raising issues with someone they were familiar with.
In addition to these examples of best practice the Home Instead service differs to many other providers in the following ways;
· Minimum of 1 hour calls ensure carers have the time to focus on the client
· A care consultation ensures that the care is tailored to the client’s needs, rather than being a simple task focused check list
· Continuity of care, whereby clients are visited by the same carer on each visit, ensures that relationships are built
· Carers 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 in to the community
Referring to the pressure placed on some home care providers by the current social care structure Trevor Brocklebank said “We are totally focused on providing the highest quality of care to our clients. We believe that the type of care we deliver cannot be typically provided in less than a 1 hour visit, but that doesn’t mean that there is not a time and place for short-duration care visits. The danger comes when the assumption is made that 15 minute calls are the norm. A one size fits all approach might be commercially or administratively convenient but the reality here is that quality care begins with an individual.”
In closing Brocklebank said, “This report follows the Policy Exchange – Careless Report, IPPR Report and the results of the Dilnot Commission. Whilst there are individuals at fault, it raises the bigger issue of the need for a change to the entire system. My fear is that the scale of the problem will mean that no one is brave enough to make the necessary changes. In the meantime we will continue doing what we do, differently, with care for the elderly at the heart of our organisation and with a stated goal of changing the face of ageing.”