Older people should be consulted about home care services

Local authorities should consult more with older people and
their carers about home care services, according to the latest
Audit Scotland report.

In ‘Homing In On Care’, Audit Scotland studied six local
authorities and consulted service users, their carers and home care
workers through questionnaires and focus groups.

Twice as many older people receive home care than residential or
nursing care. Older people are the main recipients of home care
service with some 70,000 using the service in Scotland, 90 per cent
of which is provided directly by local authorities at a cost of
around £143 million in 1999/2000.

One of the report’s main recommendations was for councils to
inform service users of changes in staff and other arrangements.
Around 10 per cent of service users said they were unsatisfied with
the service when their regular home care worker was absent.

The authors found that too often councils did not inform service
users of such changes or when services were to be cancelled due to
public holidays.

Around 445,000 people in Scotland are informal carers for those
over 65 years of age. Yet only 15 per cent of carers said they had
been asked if they needed support, while 56 per cent believed that
their help to the service user was taken into account in a home
care assessment.

Almost 40 per cent of service users reported having last
discussed their needs with someone from the local authority over a
year ago, while 69 per cent of home carers said they never attend
or contribute to their clients’ formal reviews.

Audit Scotland can be contacted on 0131 477 1234





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