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Home Care should not be a Hardship

Becoming a home care assistant in Suffolk was one of the greatest experiences of my time in care. It allowed me to see the importance of care being delivered at home and the impact that this can have.

Having care delivered at home can be the difference between

  • a couple that have not had a day apart in 60 years staying together and still not missing a day with their best friend
  • or after 60 years together being separated as one of you become more and more vulnerable. The one person you want to see is restricted to visiting hours at the care home

Home care is going to become more and more important as our population ages. There is no doubt that the Government’s preference is that we are cared for in our own homes. It is more cost effective and in many cases is peoples preferences.

As I said becoming a home care assistant was a great experience, I have cared for people separated from family in care homes and I have seen the normal lives people live at home despite having a bit of care.

But… It was not viable for me to work and pay bills. Most of the people I cared for were allotted 30 minutes by social services/NHS Continuing care because that is what the budget allowed. There is no allowance for travel pay. If it takes 15 minutes to travel to the next person then that time is unpaid. It would be regular to start work at 7am and finish at 10.30pm and be paid for 8 hours.

There are many issues in the paragraph above and I have not scratched the surface.

Number one, in many cases 30 minutes is not long enough to deliver a standard of care that is appropriate, dignified and in line with the Care Quality Commissions standards. 30 minutes to assist with personal care, shower, getting dressed, medication, putting creams on, make breakfast, wash-up, empty the bin, the list goes on. These are elderly people whom may have had a fall and lost confidence and need that little bit of extra encouragement to make those steps.  For many, we would be the only faces that they would see all day. How about a little time to chat?

Number two, in my experience carers who work in home care are always late because they don’t let the above happen. They refuse to rush someone who needs time, they wont cut someone off mid-story because they want to take the opportunity to speak to someone. A care worker will be out of the house for 15.5 hours and be paid for half of that time.

It is criminal.

I would invite Jeremy Hunt, Stephen Barclay, Caroline Dineage and Steve Brine to try it.

Jeremy Hunt – Career outside of Politics – Before his election as an MP, Jeremy ran his own educational publishing business, Hotcourses. He also set up a charity to help AIDS orphans in Africa in which he continues to play an active role.

Stephen Barclay – Career outside of Politics – Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 1998. He worked as an insurance company lawyer for Axa Insurance, as a regulator for the Financial Services Authority, and as Director of Regulatory Affairs and then Head of Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions at Barclays Retail Bank.

Caroline Dinenage – Career outside of Politics – Caroline has more than 20 years of experience as a small business owner, having established her own manufacturing company before university.

Steve Brine – Career outside of Politics – After graduating, Steve worked as a radio journalist spending time at BBC local radio and in Chicago. He has also worked in business and has experience in consultancy, marketing and publishing.

With all due respect, why is our health and social care being led in Government by people who seem to not have a days care experience between them?

Are these the people that will push our government to provide funding that allows our parents, grandparents and our children to get the care they deserve? But also provide a living wage for those that deliver that care?

Our health and social care has been underfunded, neglected and used as a politicians career stepping stone for long enough.

The minimum that we should be able to expect from our healthcare services are;

  • service users are allotted adequate time to be cared for
  • the NHS and Social Services are funded and supported by government to ensure adequate time is given
  • service users receive dignified care that enhances their quality of life
  • care staff have excellent training
  • care staff are able to earn a living wage and are paid for the time between visits

There are so many providers working hard to meet high quality standards and to better the peoples lives that they care for but without the support from those in the highest offices care providers can only continue to struggle on a shoe string. We all want our family to have the very best care, care that allows our loved ones to live full lives despite their ailments. We need care providers to come together and to be honest about what it is that is needed to be able to invest more into staff and to ultimately have a healthcare service that we can all be proud of.

If you have any thoughts or questions about this blog then please email me on

The views above are from my personal experience in care and I welcome any feedback from people who agree and disagree with the content above.

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