Concern over short home visit times for Newham’s elderly and disabled

Elderly and disabled people are subject to home care visits just 15 minutes long, a report has revea

Elderly and disabled people are subject to home care visits just 15 minutes long, a report has revealed - Credit: PA WIRE

Some home care visits for the elderly and disabled are being limited to fifteen minutes, according to a new report.

A survey of 1,100 home care workers by union Unison, combined with data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, has revealed the cap on care imposed by Newham Council and 14 other local authorities in London.

But the council says it only commissions visits of less than 30 minutes to ensure a person has taken their medication and is looking at raising the time limit.

In their report, Unison found that 74 per cent of care workers felt they did not have enough time to provide dignified care for the elderly and disabled people they visited.

The survey also found that 57 per cent of care workers said they had been asked to provide personal care in 15 minutes or less to an elderly person they had never met before.

Guidelines published by NICE last September said that home care visits should allow time for carers to complete their work without comprising quality or the dignity of the individual person.

Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis said: “Homecare workers are often the only faces some people see all day and they are a lifeline.

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“Only they can call for help and ensure that the housebound people they care for are fed, washed and well.”

A Newham Council spokesman said: “The council does not commission any home care visits of less than 30 minutes other than when it is to ensure a person has taken their medication. This is around 0.4 per cent of the more than one million hours.

“Newham Council is committed to providing people with the most appropriate support possible and we are in the process of moving to visits of at least 30 minutes for all care visits.”