With an ageing population and a growing understanding of physical and mental health, care providers are having to provide more high-level in-depth care than ever. They are also fighting funding cuts and are hugely understaffed across the board.

People are concerned about the quality of care their family may be receiving but also the type of care they may receive in the future. The Secretary of Health and Social Care, Matthew Hancock is pushing for a technology led future for care. This could help to solve many of the issues homes and carers are facing by making Care Plans easier and more efficient to complete. Many people who have raised concerns, have also said they do not blame the carers for a rushed job, or lack of time spent with residents. They blame the lack of funding from the government.

CQC involvement

The CQC have been pushing for people to raise their concerns without fear when they see them. Research has shown that millions of patients, family members and staff who have had concerns have never raised them. According to the CQC, a fifth of people who had concerns were unaware of how to raise them and did not know who to raise them to. Many were also concerned about being viewed as a ‘troublemaker’ along with people who thought nothing would change even if their concerns were communicated to the right people. Some of the main concerns that were raised were due to delays in services and appointments, lack of information and poor patient care. There are now apps where residents or patients can communicate daily with family members and friends at home which reassures everyone that patient care is a top priority. When people did feel compelled to complain, according to the CQC two-thirds of people said their issues were resolved quickly and they were happy with the outcomes. To see how Care homes should be meeting criteria you can see how KLOE’s work here.

The CQC does not investigate individual complaints or concerns, but they can use the information to help target their inspections and find out as much information as possible.

 

Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive of the CQC, said: ‘We know that when people raise a concern they have a genuine desire to improve the service for themselves and others. We also know that the majority of services really appreciate this feedback and make positive changes, as this new research shows.

 

Hearing from people about their experiences of care is an important part of our inspection work and contributes to driving improvements in standards of care. Everyone can play a part in improving care by directly giving feedback to services, or by sharing information and experiences with us so that we can take action when we find poor care. Sharing your experience also enables us to highlight the many great examples of care we see.’

Concerns

People who are receiving domiciliary care are most concerned with the amount of time they are receiving care, and continuity compared to how much it is costing. Some domiciliary care companies now use technology to help plan routes to make sure that they are making the most of their time with the people they are there to care for. One woman when asked about her care situation said, ‘I don’t think the care is worth paying at the moment.’

5 main concerns that Age UK have found are:

 

  1. Too many professional carers are in rush and there’s no continuity
  2. Care often it isn’t very good
  3. Social Care is very expensive and often not good value for money
  4. We family carers feel abandoned and unsupported by the NHS and social care
  5. The social care system is dysfunctional and navigating it is a nightmare

Relationship building with someone who is providing intimate personal care is hugely important and is something that does not seem to be happening across the board. This is concerning when linked to the person-centred care that should be happening. The system was generally blamed for this rather than the paid carers themselves. Compliance within care is key, to see what the consequences of failing to comply can be click here.

The cost of care

Many people feel that if they had more money, they could have a better standard of care, the postcode lottery is also a major concern. The high cost of social care is also a huge worry for the elderly and their families. Many people have found that even if they were entitled to free care, they found they would top it up as the standard was not to a level they needed.

All family carers just want to do right for their loved ones, however, this is voluntary and incredibly difficult. They often feel out of their depth and struggle without basic help or specialist support. A woman who cares for her elderly mother told Age UK ‘I think politicians are completely out of touch as far as caring is concerned it is 24 hours, I’d like them to spend a day in my life before they say families should do more, because I certainly couldn’t do anymore’.

Why call it care when no one cares?

In the paper produced by Age UK, ‘Why call it care when no one cares?’ they investigated the top five improvements older people would like to see within the care industry.

  1. ‘Everyone should contribute in some way’
  2. ‘We’re only willing to pay more if we get a better service in return’
  3. ‘We want any extra funds that are raised to be ring-fenced for care’
  4. ‘We believe we need a new and better contract with family carers in our society’
  5. ‘We older people and our families desperately want security’

Older people who have paid into the system for their entire lives believe the whole population should continue to do so. People also believe they are paying a lot of money into the system but aren’t getting enough out of it. Many are not prepared to pay more for others to benefit in the future, when it won’t affect or help them directly. The funding that is raised for social care should be ‘ring-fenced’, so the lion’s share of money cannot be taken by the NHS is a belief that many who are in the care system share. Respite care being cut in several areas is causing family carers to visibly buckle under the strain of caring for the people they love. Financial worries are increasingly on the rise, many fear having to sell their homes to fund care and people are scared that once their money runs low they are going to have to move to a cheaper and worse care provider.

Young and Old

Concern for care does not stop with elderly care. Many young peoples care providers have also recently been under scrutiny. One major story that covered the press in 2018 was that of ‘Bethany’. Bethany was 17 years old and in solitary confinement behind a locked door. The story caught the publics attention because of the old-fashioned way they were seemingly dealing with her mental health issues. Beth has autism, suffers from extreme anxiety and cannot cope with stress. It would be far cheaper for the state to let Beth go home and house her in her own community, where she can be close to her family. However, the cost for this would fall on the local council, who, struggling with austerity measures did complain that Beth had cost them more than £1m.

CQC inspectors found ‘serious problems’ at a facility for teens with learning difficulties.

Kate Bennett-Wilson, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection, said: ‘Our inspection has identified a number of serious problems concerning patient safety and the quality of care needed immediate attention. It was a matter of some concern that, at the specialist unit, some of the staff could not demonstrate the knowledge or specialist skills needed to care for teenagers who had learning disabilities or autism.’

How can technology help carers improve care?

Technology in care is gaining momentum. Electronic care planning is helping care be person-centred, be detailed and updated constantly with ease. This allows staff to have a clear and up to date handover ready, everyone knows the latest changes and updates that have been made regarding a resident or client.

Smart planning can allow home visits to be planned with better accuracy allowing quicker travel times meaning carers have more time to spend with the person they are visiting, getting to know them on a personal level rather than a quick visit to get over and done with.

eMAR systems can improve resident safety, reduce errors and highlight risks. It can give you insights to measure and improve your medication practices. They can ensure that data entry is kept to a minimum and data integrity is high.

To see how technology can improve compliance and efficiency take a look at our blog.