My blog posts have thinned out in the last few months because it is hard to think of new things to say about the same old issues. It seems like no-one is listening, or if they do hear, perhaps no-one cares. Here are some examples of recurring headlines:-
“Stop rushed visits to sick and elderly, carers told”
Times, 5th March 2015
This is a commentary about domiciliary care which 470,000 people in England receive, via funding through social services.
Domiciliary care was the bridge between hospital and home. A way, with early intervention, of preventing people going into hospital unnecessarily. Equally important a way of enabling people to be discharged quickly from acute hospital care and still receive some support.
Over the last 10 years, this service has quietly been withdrawn due to the twin pressures placed on the service by increasing numbers of older people and austerity measures.
It started with domiciliary support being limited to ‘critical and substantial’ cases. Thereafter, visits were frequently reduced to 15 minute time slots – now in some cases that has become 5 minute visits! Between April 2010 and March 2013, funding for social care fell by 8%.
Funding is reduced, hospital admissions rise and beds are blocked by patients who cannot return home without support. Meanwhile other Government funded organisations charged with looking after the quality of care for older people, give a chorus of impotent advice:-
- The Care Quality Commission, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, points out the obvious – “choosing between a bath and breakfast because staff dont have enough time, is not safe caring”.
- The National Institute for Health Care Excellent issued new guidance suggesting home help calls last at least half and hour.
- The Watchdog Healthwatch England says it will challenge Local Authorities who do not meet the new benchmark (of half hour visits).
Care in the community is rapidly becoming: