Community Care

Grownups’ services managers have today issued a stout defence of at least some 15-minute home care visits ahead of a vote on banning them on the reasons of indignity.

As charity Leonard Cheshire Disability stepped up its campaign for a ban and with peers establish to discuss placing this kind of prohibition into law, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said some 15-minute visits were “entirely warranted”.

It released amounts – from a survey of managers last year – which revealed that while commissioned attention -minute visits they represent 16% of all visits. Moreover, only 8% of the councils who commissioned home care in 15-minute visits used directors for bathing and washing; by comparison 88% used them for administering drug and 80% for checking on people.

Its amounts were released by Adass in response to your report out today demonstrating the percentage of councils -minute visits is up at 60%, according to a survey replied by 137. The charity – a supplier itself – needs the practice prohibited on the grounds that it results in the undignified and hurried delivery to individuals, be it help with washing, dressing, toileting or getting up.

The Attention Bill returns to the House of Lords because of its report period, and one change which is contemplated would ordinarily prevent councils from commissioning visits of less than 30 minutes, as it occurs. Leonard Cheshire needs peers to back this change “to stop the indignity of hurried attention”.

But in a strongly worded reply, Adass president Sandie Keene said: “it’s entirely erroneous to consider that all jobs need more than a quarter-hour to carry out; and honestly innocent to consider that by simply abolishing 15-minute time slots a magic wand will have been waved, and enhancements mechanically reached in our care services.”

But Adass’s position has itself received short shrift in the United Kingdom Homecare Association, which represents suppliers.

While Adass has said that only 4% (or so) of councils commission 15-minute visits for bathing and washing, the UKHCA has said this leaves out several other personal care jobs that are being “wedged into unreasonably brief periods of time”.

UKHCA chair Mike Padgham additionally pointed out that “the sensitive management of the complex drug so frequently needed by older individuals must also be a cause for worry when shoehorned into a 15-minute visit”.

The government is not likely to support the proposed change to the Attention Bill – which comes from ex-social worker Baroness Meacher. The Government’s societal attention White Paper last year suggested an ending to the “petroleum contracting” of home care by the minute, but through the spread of good practice on results-based commissioning, not through regulations.

This leaves many questions to us:

If 15-minute visits are not inappropriate what are the appropriate for and are they for what we call personal care suitable?
Is law the best instrument for preventing improper care visits (of 15 minutes or)?
If the law really isn’t the instrument that is absolute most suitable what’s?
And can we get rid of improper care visits in the present funding climate?

The last point is one that could possibly combine Adass and UKHCA, Leonard Cheshire, who’d probably concur that today’s funding climate makes commissioned care visits more, not less. Yet, that better- care system that is financed appears as far away as ever, meaning other processes besides an injection must be discovered to stop home care that is undignified. The question is what.

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