News from our partners: How is home care working in Shropshire?
News from our partners Healthwatch Shropshire
Home care (also known as domiciliary care) is often seen as the ‘front line’ of social care delivery, and is critical to the longstanding intention to enable people to ‘age in place’ and to deliver care as close as possible to people’s homes.
In a project undertaken prior to coronavirus, Healthwatch Shropshire, the local health and social care consumer champion, asked those receiving home care (also known as domiciliary care) in Shropshire to tell them about their experiences, and have just published their report which found that:
- Service users who responded to the survey were very happy with their experiences in the main.
- Continuity of care was found to be an issue, with 24% of respondents saying that they felt that they see too many different carers.
- More people who were funding their own care felt involved in decisions about their care (100%) than people who were receiving council-funded or health-funded care (88%).
- Self-funders were also more likely to feel the carers visited them at the times they wanted (86%), compared with people receiving council-funded or health-funded care (79%).
When Healthwatch Shropshire spoke to home care providers they heard that:
- Recruitment is increasingly difficult for the sector and consistency of care can be difficult to achieve. Providers told us that they try their best to keep staff consistent, particularly for those with dementia, but as they have a high proportion of part time workers amongst their staff this is not always possible.
- The rurality of the county poses extra problems for providers in respect of travel time.
- Hospital discharges can pose problems for providers due to a lack of communication, mixed messages or failed discharges.
- For some, technology is making the administrative side of the business more efficient and improving communication.
Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, said:-
“Provision of home care comes with its challenges particularly in rural areas, but it has been reassuring to hear from the majority of people who responded to our survey that their experience has been good. We want to continue to hear about home care services, particularly how the service has been delivered during the pandemic, including to those people who have been discharged from hospital.”
The report can be found here https://www.healthwatchshropshire.co.uk/report/2020-09-03/home-care-shropshire
Healthwatch Shropshire are now looking more closely at hospital discharge and currently have a survey open asking for people’s experiences of being discharged from hospital during COVID. They are keen to hear what working well and what could have been improved. The survey is available on the website at https://www.healthwatchshropshire.co.uk/tell-us-about-your-experience-leaving-hospital-during-covid-19 or can be completed over the telephone by calling 01743 237884.
Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in Shropshire. It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services. It also has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.
Healthwatch Shropshire is one of a network of 148 Local Healthwatch in England. It is supported by a national organisation, Healthwatch England.
It has a team working in community engagement, plus a volunteer programme, a visit programme to health and social care premises and an associate membership scheme to involve the public in its work. It also has a signposting service to help people access health and social care services and support.
Healthwatch Shropshire also provides the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service (IHCAS) for Shropshire. The IHCAS service provides information, advice and, if necessary, can support people through the NHS complaints process.