Domiciliary Care Staff, Time and Tasks

Who Cares? event

Comments from Lisburn Discussion Event:

  • Not sure how much training care staff in private sector get – managers probably know what needs to be done but this is not passed on to all care staff
  • Compassion and professionalism – staff should be chosen very carefully, it is not just about exams, understanding, that extra smile, human touches. There needs to be training so that staff be more considerate and loving
  • Carers should be valued for the work they do
  • Not enough consistency/continuity in care workers
  • Everyone felt that staff in care homes are not trained well enough or paid enough. It was agreed that the issues of dignity, respect etc will not be addressed until staffing issues are dealt with. Everyone felt that staff have a hard job and that this is not acknowledged enough.
  • There needs to be more engagement with residents and activities in care homes.
  • Someone spoke about a care home owner who used to ‘go undercover’ in his own care home and ask residents what they thought of the place etc. It was thought that this was a great idea and that all care homes should be inspected in this way. The need for independent advocacy was also discussed- the need for someone residents can confide in if need be.
  • The table spoke about excellent experiences of home care amongst family members. Those round the table praised staff who were good at their jobs, took their time, were patient. It was felt important that this level of professionalism amongst home care staff must continue.
  • Some care workers are not experienced or well trained
  • 15 minute time slots for home care visits are too short, particularly where a care worker is the only person the service user sees all day;
  • Support has to be timely – experience of delays in the provision of home care packages after hospital discharge;
  • Care workers going to homes for 15 minutes is totally inadequate
  • Proper time to care should be allocated – no 15 minute slots. Some people need as much as 2-3 hours and 1-2 hours in the evening – as much time spent with them as they would have in nursing/residential care
  • Staff to client ratio – not enough staff
  • Carers should be attending to the client’s needs at the appropriate time. Most people do not know who to contact to check what the delay is.
  • Cleaning should not form part of social care. Care and household duties should be separate as care workers need to better qualified to deal with medication etc
  • Bring back the old fashioned ‘home help’ with adequate time and flexibility to do whatever the client needs. Health and Safety has gone too far and people should just be able to do whatever is the right thing to do.
  • Lots of things care workers aren’t allowed to do or don’t do, eg. hair
  • Key thing for social care - to help people with hygiene and to provide a hot meal
  • 15 minute slots for domiciliary care are not long enough – care can’t be individualised if not enough time. Little time gives older people lack of choice and impacts on dignity and quality of life.
  • Everyone agreed that practical help is of great importance. Help with cleaning, making the bed, ironing etc.
  • Home visits by carers need to be longer – at least 30 minutes
  • Care workers don’t have enough time to do everything needed in 15 minutes
  • Older people want to have the opportunity to talk to their care worker
  • Most older people will ask for you to sit another wee while – ach you are not going to go now – glad to see someone from the outside world
  • Maintenance help for people living on their own – need some help to allow them to remain in homes
  • 4/5 different care workers can be assigned to the one person – there is no consistency
  • Care is inconsistent – people should be assigned a regular care worker – too many different cares in one day
  • It’s about dignity – there is no time to speak – in and out in 15 mins – it’s ridiculous. If you give more time for care workers to properly care then we may be able to keep people out of hospital which is more expensive
  • The old fashioned home help was great. They were allowed to provide for the needs of the individual. Washing hair was a big help for example. Were able to get to know people and worked in the best way to help them where they needed it. Health and Safety these days is too strict. There is no common sense anymore.
  • If you give more time for care workers to properly care then we may be able to keep people out of hospital which is more expensive

Comments from the Omagh Discussion Event

  • Care workers should be given more time as they do not get enough time
  • Too many restrictions on what they are allowed to do – it’s all down to health and safety
  • Some of these care workers give 101% and that’s good – but they should be better paid
  • Staff can spend more time on paperwork than on you – some managers cannot even bid you the time of day
  • Some people cannot cook and you need at least one home cooked meal per day.
  • Care workers should be able to help an older person prepare a proper cooked meal – they should be given the time needed to peel potatoes, prepare vegetables and some meat – it’s not that hard
  • Caring needs to be seen as profession -properly paid, trained etc
  • The care workers have no time really to do anything but the most basic of tasks. Time to heat a dinner in a microwave but not to cook one.
  • Care workers should be valued and paid more.
  • Recurring comments that 15 minutes of care not being enough.
  • Young people need more training if they are to provide catering services for older people who just want plain and simple food.
  • Give the social care people more time and more flexibility for services
  • Time allocation for home helps is not enough. Some people get as little as five minutes and they are not allowed to cook or do cleaning. It was felt the average time of 10-15 minutes was too short given that this might be the only social interaction the older person will have in their day.
  • It is undignified to have to live in a dirty house because you are unable to clean it yourself so cleaning should be provided when needed. Also they should be able to do some cooking even if it meant making portions to freeze or a casserole in a slow-cooker.
  • There is an issue around getting care workers to visit. Under Trust contracts they do not get a mileage allowance and have to pay their own petrol costs. They are paid £6.25 per hour and only paid for their visit times. The Trusts need to look at their contracts.
  • We need to support care workers to support Older People – they need an incentive
  • Social worker in her husband’s case carries out continual assessment about every 6 months and it is working. Continuity of care – we can have all members of family and patient themselves present and taking part if they want; and same social worker comes.
  • What can you do in 10minutes? Not sufficient time to do job properly; and it is important that the carer doesn’t just do practical jobs – really important to have a conversation, talk about the news, have a chat – make people feel valued and with spending time with
  • Continuity of care so important. Need to have the same care worker to establish a rapport with the client. 5 different girls coming in morning and afternoon/night – not getting to know the girls coming in, no relationship with older person
  • Some older people are getting put to bed at 5 o’clock – it would make you depressed if you never were before – it is frightening – not independence, not dignity
  • Services need to be more flexible than they are now, e.g. domiciliary care too task-focused, not enough focus on ‘caring’/social interaction;
Age NI Advice Line:
0808 808 7575

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