According to a review conducted by the Local Government Information Unit it’s only a ‘matter or time’ before there’s a major scandal in the domiciliary care sector similar to recent care home scandals.
Even if you haven’t read the reports in the papers and on the internet I’m sure some of the issues raised will not come as a surprise. The picture painted was one where 60% of care workers are on zero hours contracts and as many as a third are effectively not being paid the national minimum wage because of unpaid travel time.
The resulting low morale and high staff turnover means poor continuity of care and inadequate quality of care for many vulnerable people.
A bleak picture – but is it the whole picture?
There are unquestionably issues in the sector and nationally the service is underfunded – we know this. Home care management faces significant challenges. And yet we are not seeing providers being closed down by the CQC left, right and centre. Instances of truly unacceptable care seem to be rare and, more importantly, hundreds of thousands of service users still receive good standards of care.
Nobody should be complacent and there are clearly serious risks; but it is still possible to deliver professional, good quality domiciliary care.
Zero hours contracts may be an unwelcome necessity for many providers, but the negative impact on staff can be reduced by a modern online scheduling system that gives them better information and more control over their working time.
Travel time will always be a challenge, but your domiciliary care management software should be able to automatically design rosters that minimise time lost moving between appointments. It should also monitor it for each care worker to ensure that you don’t break the law by paying below the minimum wage, and ensure that you don’t fall foul of the new ruling on paid holiday.
Continuity of care will always be valued by service users. And with the right management software you can ensure that it is automatically put at the core of your rosters.
A scandal is not inevitable
Unquestionably there is a case for a better funded home care service. But good care continues to happen, proving that it is possible to deliver even under current circumstances.
In spite of the challenges there is plenty that many professional providers are already doing to deliver better care and support care staff, while reducing administration time and cost. The CareForIT team is proud to be playing our part in meeting these challenges in partnership with great care businesses up and down the country.
Dan Farrell-Wright, CareForIt
Cost-effective home care management software.