The findings of a Community Care survey, published today, highlight the difficult decisions adults’ social workers are having to make in the current financial climate. The survey asked social workers to share examples, from their professional experience, of where care packages have been cut and to describe how this had impacted on a person’s wellbeing.
It can be appropriate and safe to reduce a person’s care where, for example, their needs have decreased, and practitioners responding to the survey shared some positive examples of where reductions had helped people to regain independence, increase their wellbeing through moving to a more appropriate care setting, or build new social and community links.
However, social workers also shared the following stark examples of the human cost of social care cuts and the negative impact cutting a person’s care can have on their life.
“A common example is not allowing budget to be used for night care. The standard response is ‘wear incontinence pads in bed’ – even if the person is not incontinent!”
‘Reducing the social support in a care package for three brothers who live together. Each has either a mental health problem, physical or leaning difficulty. They have had a substantial care package for approximately 15 years, which kept them safe from financial abuse and enabled all three to continue to live together in the community. After reducing the care package, two of them went into residential care and died. The other was admitted to hospital with dehydration and hypothermia.”
“A person with hoarding issues and a tendency to eat rotten food had their shopping and housework call cut. This resulted in an admission to hospital with food poisoning.”
“I was moved off a case because the cost of the home care package was too high and I refused to ‘put’ the client in a care home against his wishes. He was incapacitated but his wife fought, the next case worker did the same thing and he went home. There were no support services for his wife, who provided most of the care and was frail emotionally, because it was ‘her choice’ to have her husband at home. She, and other professionals, were unhappy I had been removed from the case and I was not allowed to say the truth. I left not long after.”