Listen to hometouch on BBC London Radio
The strain on unpaid carers, the broken care service system, the guidelines that are supposed to provide guarantees and the cuts to funding that make fulfilling those guarantees impossible.
BBC Radio London investigates home care
Guidelines published by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have suggested that care visits should be a minimum of 30 minutes, and that carer relationships should be ongoing rather than multiple carers visiting in any given week.
Dr Jamie Wilson – founder of Hometouch, and Katia Hadidian – a Hometouch customer, were invited on to BBC London radio to discuss the day’s developments with award-winning journalist Chris Rogers.
- With regular care services, the elderly and/or disabled can see more than 20 carers in 1 week.
- Because of poor care, family members can feel tremendous guilt.
- The emotional implication of family role reversals mean that those who were once in a position of authority are now completely reliant on others, this shift can lead to mental health problems.
- The stress of providing constant care can result in stress-related health problems for carers, be it depression or, in some cases, stroke.
- The provision of care funded by the local authority is means-tested.
- If the family have property and savings, the cost of care needs to be personally subsidised.
- Eventually, Councils provide direct payments, so that the family can use the funds to choose their own carers.
- Care agencies can’t guarantee sending the same carer each time, so more than one carer can be seen in a single day.
- The traditional care agency model is broken. They charge a lot for their services, pay their carers a very low wage, and as a result have a high turnover of staff. This leads to instability in the care provided.
- Hometouch does things differently, and can still be funded by direct payments.
- Carers are self-employed, set their own rates, are paid more, and clients pay less while maintaining control of the carer who comes.
- NICE guidelines of minimum 30-minute visits, are an aspiration rather than a reality for Council-funded care programs.
- Government cuts make a mockery of NICE guidelines, as Councils have less money to fund care, yet are required to provide more.