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Worked up? Speak out! Help us to improve the quality of care and health services

10 March 2017 by Emily Holzhausen

Emily Holzhausen

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK

The quality of care matters to all of us, particularly when it involves a relative or friend for whom we are caring. We all know good care when we see it and experience it. It is compassionate, caring, treats us like an individual, maximises our health, well-being and independence, is reliable and responds to what we need. Staff are well trained and knowledgeable and we’re confident that the care we receive will be good or even excellent. Carers say that good quality care gives them peace of mind and the impact of good quality care goes well beyond that into the world of jobs and employment. In our research, Quality of Care and Carers, seven out of ten working age carers said that good quality care enabled them to work – secure in the knowledge that their relative or friend would be well cared for.

Conversely, in our research, we found that 24% of carers – a quarter of our respondents reported negative experiences of social care services such as home care or respite care and 16% of carers reported negative experiences of NHS services like hospitals and GP surgeries. The research also highlighted the impact that poor care has on families – 34% had reduced working hours to compensate for poor care or pay more for better care. It impacted negatively on carers’ health and well-being and the family as a whole.

Research published this week by the Care Quality Commission looking at older people’s experiences and views showed that many older people over 65 don’t raise concerns about care. Around one in three are likely to complain to family or friends, and around one in four have provided feedback about a health service in the past. However, many feel that they are worried about making a complaint – the CQC’s research shows that one in six over 65s don’t complain because they are worried about it affecting their care. Many people often don’t know where to raise concerns.

In order to improve the quality of care, services often need to know when things go right and where they also don’t work as well or go wrong for the people they are intended to support. Carers UK has been working with the Care Quality Commission and is currently part of the Tell Us partnership to encourage feedback from families and people who use services on care and health services. The CQC looks at the information provided when it decides to inspect a service and review its quality rating. At times, the CQC takes quick and responsive action in response to feedback where it sees more significant risks. Other feedback is logged for a more routine inspection. This feedback is vital to help work towards improving the quality of health and care services.

Everyone has a role to play in improving the quality of services, and carers could do this by providing feedback on the services that the family or they receive. We’ve a host of information on what to do and where to feedback as well as a direct link to the Care Quality Commission: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support/care-standards-and-cqc

And for anyone not knowing where to find advice on how to find good care, Which? Elderly Care have a good care services directory to help you find the care you need.

Help us to improve services for older and disabled people. #careforolderpeople

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