The below Q&A's reflect the service closure announcement.
What is Home Help?
The Home Help Service is a paid for face to face service which provides help in the home with tasks such as vacuuming, cleaning, changing beds, assisting with food preparation or sitting with an elderly person for a chat. On occasion it provides outdoor activity support. The service does not provide any kind of personal care, for example assistance with getting in and out of bed, dressing, feeding, giving medication or washing and toileting.
Why has Age UK Essex taken the decision to close the Home Help Service?
In April we temporarily suspended the service as part of the UK wide lockdown. It is with the deepest regret that we are now closing the face to face Home Help service. Our Board has taken the difficult decision that it cannot guarantee our duty of care to both staff and clients by continuing this service given the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to support our clients with free emergency shopping deliveries, free regular well-being calls, befriending and information and advice. We will continue to care for our clients by offering new ways of support without the need for entering their homes.
What part of the Home Help Service are you closing?
We will no longer be visiting people in their homes. Many of our clients are in the most vulnerable, at risk, group known as ‘shielding’. People within this group have been advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact if they are clinically extremely vulnerable, to protect themselves. Our Board has taken the difficult decision that it cannot guarantee our duty of care to both staff and clients by continuing this service given the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to offer support to our clients with free emergency shopping deliveries, free regular well-being calls, befriending and information and advice.
What will happen to Home Help clients who need someone to provide face to face assistance?
We will continue to deliver our other services including free information and advice and befriending during this unprecedented time. It is important to us that our clients receive emotional and practical support in a safe way and that our clients and staff are not placed at risk whilst delivering a service. We will provide free essential shopping deliveries and regular well-being calls. We will endeavour to ensure that the vulnerable people with whom we work, should know to whom they can turn, during this time of extended isolation to receive support. We remain committed to the older people of Essex.
Who will pick up those in need to cover the service you are no longer offering?
We have several contact options for alternative support and our website contains information on contact details for Essex Welfare Service and details of council led services. Our Information & Advice Team is on hand from Monday – Friday, 9am-4.30pm and our friendly Advisors can provide expert support and guidance for further support.
Will Age UK Essex consider re-opening the Home Help Service once the initial crisis has passed?
Consideration may be given to reinstating the Home Help Service at some point in the future, however, this option will only be considered if/when we are confident that the safety of older people and staff can be fully protected and lives will not be put at risk.
Does the closure of the Home Help Service affect all of our Home Help services across Essex?
Yes. All areas in Essex are affected by the closure, including the unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock.
How have Age UK Essex communicated the closure of the Home Help Service to clients?
All clients have been informed in writing. Information is updated regularly on our website.
What will happen to the Home Help staff?
We will be consulting with employees on the employment implications of closing the Home Help Service. We will unfortunately, no longer be able to offer work to our Home Helps who work in the community. We would like to thank all of our Home Help staff for the amazing work they have done supporting older people.