Length of home care visits could be monitored by Care Quality Commission

Care minister Norman Lamb will today reveal the next step in the government’s crackdown on problems in the home care system

Tougher checks may be introduced to ensure home care workers are not forced to rush visits to the people they are there to help, under proposals to be outlined by care minister Norman Lamb later today.

From next April, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is proposing to look at whether home care visits are long enough to respond to people’s needs.

It will also consider looking at how staff working conditions might be impacting on care. Issues under consideration may include:

  • Whether the service is able to respond to people’s needs in the allocated time
  • Whether care is delivered with compassion, dignity and respect
  • How many staff have zero hour contracts
  • Levels of staff turnover

Commentators on Twitter have questioned whether this approach could work given the CQC will not be able to monitor local authority commissioning decisions.

Lamb will say the CQC would use this information to “drive its regulatory activity, so it knows when, where and what to inspect and is alerted quickly to the risk of poor quality care in home care settings”.

The minister is due to announce the plans in a speech at the National Children and Adult Services conference this afternoon.

He will say: “The current approach to home care is not fair on those who need support, it’s not fair on care workers and it is stripping away the human element of caring.

“Fifteen minutes is not enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. Some do not even get the chance to have a conversation with their home care worker, who may be the only person they see that day.

“These tougher checks would ask specific questions about the amount of time allocated for visits and whether staff are suitably supported to do this. This is particularly important because these are services delivered in private, behind closed doors.”

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4 Responses to Length of home care visits could be monitored by Care Quality Commission

  1. Les Bright October 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Obviously a priority!! “…from next April CQC is proposing…”.

    Yet another case of too little, too late and looking for the answer in the wrong place – visits are commissioned by local authorities and delivered by home care agencies. If ever there was a clear case of a situation where additional resources, sorry – money – would make a difference, this is it – transferring NHS funding to LAs with specific requirements to support people at home will do a great deal more than asking CQC to look in on an established practice to confirm that it goes on and is not very good.

  2. D October 23, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    The quality of care staff needs to be addressed also. Care companies employ anyone who passes the CRB check, which really doesn’t count for anything. You could give an hour for a carer to do a call, but if there from the bottom of the barrel then why even bother.

  3. David Hambly October 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Clearly with Massive cuts to LA Budgets and particularly in light of increasing demand the position of paying more for care is impossibe. Local Authorities up & down the country are making cuts and driving a more for less approach for commissioning services. Agencies are paying very low wages and offering zero hour contracts and the rationale or this is that LA’s will not pay more for care in the age of Austerity. The Government are crying crocodile tears and seeking to pass blame to Councils. The real reason this is happening is the blatent disregard they have for older people needing care that can’t afford to pay for it. The situation is bound to get worse, CQC need the power to outlaw 15 minute care visits and need to monitor Private care agancies more closely. At the present time many agencies are providing appalling levels of care to vulnerable people and CQC seems in my opinion slow of the mark to act. Also contract compliance Teams have their hands tied by contracts that do not specify what carers are paid, that zero hours contract are not used. The result is a collective failure and a collective shame on all of those tasked with commissioning and monitoring care.

  4. home care Manchester October 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Quality of care should always come first. Unfortunately in todays climate this isn’t easily achieved, cutting down visitors is just one way of goign about this im afraid, as always more determent to the service and the individual themselves!