Care staff are ‘in a rush’

Elderly are being short-changed by rushed home visits.

THE Midweek Herald is to press for a change in the law to compel private providers of personal and domestic home care to include travelling times between appointments in staff schedules.

Thanks to our readers, we are able to prove that the most vulnerable in our society are being short-changed by rushed visits and jobs not being completed – because staff are in a hurry to get to their next job.

These hurried appointments are being conducted by staff working for a small number of care agencies. Those agencies are poised to be contacted by the Midweek Herald. The majority of care providers in our area offer an excellent service.

We will also be calling for a more comprehensive inspection procedure – to ensure the Care Quality Commission gives a fairer picture of service delivery.

A more serious matter, which threatens the health and safety of the vulnerable, is to be taken up immediately with the Care Quality Commission.

This involves a flaw in recruitment of staff and can be dealt with under existing legislation.

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The Herald is concerned to discover that not all personal care workers have the ability to read important care plans, many drawn up by hospital discharge nurses and members of Devon County Council’s health and social care team.

A percentage of those carers are foreign workers, some of whom cannot properly read English and whose command of the spoken language is not good enough to effectively communicate with elderly clients.

Those who have complained to agencies have been told they are racist.

Poppycock, says the Midweek Herald.

When a person’s health and safety is being put at risk, it is a matter that warrants serious investigation.

Two agencies are to be approached directly by the Midweek Herald, pending complaints to statutory bodies. The overall theme of our phone-in on the subject of private home care was one of fear.

Elderly people, who are dependent on strangers to help them in their own homes, are reluctant to speak out about problems.

However, they responded to our phone-in in their droves – along with paid carers.

The Midweek Herald would like to thank all those who called, especially those who had to wait to be called back.

We would like to assure those people, we are liaising with Devon County Council (Trading Standards), the Care Quality Commission and police. We aim to hold a meeting with MP Neil Parish next month.

More on the phone-in will appear in next week’s Midweek Herald.

If you have a view, or concern, to express, write to us at the address on page 2, email or call (01392) 888488 and ask for the editor, Belinda Bennett.