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Carers UK urges action on older people's home care

23 November 2011

Carers UK urges government to act on Human Rights report on Older People's Home Care

Carers UK today welcomed the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s  inquiry report into the human rights aspects of home care for older people which exposed the shocking quality of care that some older people and their families receive.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy at Carers UK said, "This report reflects the real concerns that many people have about poor care for their older relatives and friends and the devastating impact it can have on older people's lives.  Although a majority of people do receive good quality care, the report shows that for too many families, the social care system is failing them. This provides yet more evidence that reform of social care is urgently needed.”

The year long inquiry, based on evidence from many older people and their families highlighted that although a majority of satisfied with their care, many raised concerns which showed that some of the care provided was infringing basic human rights.  It revealed that people were not being fed properly, washed, or basic due care and attention being paid to medication.

Carers UK finds that families often don't know where to turn to complain about services, feel that their concerns are not addressed and many are simply too worried to complain.  The system needs to be strengthened so that older people's views and their families are taken notice of.  The system of regulation needs to improve so that families have the confidence of care that is being provided.   Care agencies need to ensure that their staff are properly trained.

The report also exposes the fact that cash-strapped local authorities are tightening their commissioning arrangements resulting in care companies shortening visits, making it nearly impossible for their staff to provide the level and quality of care that is needed.   The report makes it clear that many of these staff want to do a better job but cannot because there is no time and this can have serious negative consequences for people's human rights.

The Care Quality Commission made a timely announcement on 22 November that it would be carrying out a themed inspection of home care services which will be designed to look at how services meet essential standards and ensure that people will be treated with dignity and respect.   This review is urgently needed in response to the evidence supplied by the EHRC’s inquiry as it is clear that the current system is not delivering the standards of care that people expect and need.

Emily Holzhausen continued, “Government needs to ensure that urgent action and needs to set out a robust plan of action next April when it publishes a White Paper on social care and a progress report on funding.  Carers UK will be looking for a plan of action from Government to plug the funding gap for social care in the short and longer term, better regulation of care providers and new legislation which would ensure that older people's human rights would be respected when home care is provided.”

NOTES

  1. EHRC Inquiry into the human rights in home care for older people lasted one year was chaired by Baroness Greengross and included a number of organisations on the advisory group including Carers UK.  It is published at: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/news/2011/november/home-care-often-fails-to-meet-older-peoples-basic-rights-says-inquiry
  2. Care Quality Commission new themed workstream on home care.   http://www.cqc.org.uk/node/386875
  3. Carers UK chairs the Care & Support Alliance – over 50 organisations representing older and disabled people, those with long-term conditions and their families, who work together to promote social care reform.

 

 

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