Consult your clients, Scots councils told

Local authorities in Scotland should consult more with older
people and their carers about home care services, according to a
recent  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 care at home as those who are
in residential or nursing home care.

Among the report’s recommendations was for councils to
inform service users of changes in staff and other

About 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 changes or when services were to be cancelled due to
public holidays.

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

Almost 40 per cent of service users reported having last
discussed their needs with someone from a council more than a year
ago while 69 per cent of home carers said they never attend or
contributed to their clients’ formal reviews.

Most service users reported that they would not dare make a
complaint where they felt a service had been inadequate.

Audit Scotland called for local authorities to develop systems
to inform users about changes to the service and to issue written
guidelines in making complaints about the home care service.

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