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15 minute care visits

View profile for Mike Pemberton
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BBC News has this week reported of the widespread use of 15-minute care visits to the elderly and disabled.

The Leonard Cheshire Disability charity says that these visits are not long enough to provide adequate care and “can force disabled people to choose whether to go thirsty or go to the toilet”.

The Care Minister, Norman Lamb, defended the use of these short visits in some circumstances, such as when the purpose of the visit is simply to provide someone with their medication. However, he did brand these visits as “completely inappropriate” for things like bathing and feeding.

He also spoke of an amendment to the Care Bill to put a stop to this:    

“We’re actually introducing an amendment to the Care Bill this week which will require councils to focus on an individual’s wellbeing when they’re organising care on their behalf, and so this sort of very short visit for personal care would not meet that standard”.

The charity produced a report on the issue containing statistics on the use of the short visits: 60% of councils use these visits, there has been a 15% rise in the visits in the last 5 years and more than 75% of care visits were carried out in less than 15 minutes, highlighting the widespread and increasing use of these short visits.

The Local Government Association is reported to have said that social care is “substantially underfunded” and that “significant cuts to council funding mean local authorities are struggling to meet the rising demand for home care visits”. It is important that an individual’s needs are met, regardless of council’s funding restrictions and that so called ‘care on the cheap’ is avoided.

The Care Bill has been a hot topic in the press recently and is set to reform the health and social care system. The Bill is due to be debated in the House of Lords on Wednesday 9th October 2013 and it remains to be seen whether the Care Minister will be backed on his aim to remove the 15 minute visits and whether the Bill will be amended to that effect.

We have a specialist Community Care Team within our Civil Liberties Unit who unfortunately all too often come across cases in which insufficient care is being provided to meet the assessed needs of vulnerable people. We are able to assist you in ensuring that you are receiving an adequate level of care and support and that this support is meeting your needs.

By Sophie Maloney, Civil Liberties team

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