A Leading UK Charity Attacks Short Care Visits

The UK based charity ‘Leonard Cheshire Disability’ has revealed a report today criticising local authorities who commission 15 minute home care visits to the elderly and the younger disabled.

The report reveals that 60% of English local authorities use 15 minute care visits which, in the charities opinion, and that of much of the general public, is not long enough to provide adequate levels of care and support to such vulnerable people.

Leonard Cheshire Disability is pushing the government for a ban on what it calls the ‘scandal of flying 15 minute visits’ across England. The proportion of 15 minute care visits has risen by 15% over the past five years and it states that at the most extreme end of the scale, some local authorities deliver more than three quarters of their home care visits in 15 minutes. The charity says that such visits can ‘force disabled people to choose whether to go thirsty or go to the toilet’.

Clare Pelham Leonard Cheshire’s Chief Executive advises visits should be at least 30 minutes long and goes on to say “We are treating disabled and older people as if they are robots to be serviced, rather than real people who deserve to be treated with kindness and consideration. Most people need 40 minutes to get up, washed dressed and have breakfast.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live a Thames Valley community care worker who gave her first name only as Rosaleen stated that 15 minute care calls often overran and said that the short time frame available forced carers to make choices such as whether to leave someone alone with a hot drink which they might spill on themselves or to sit with them whilst they drink but then not have the time to get them ready for bed. Asked if people’s safety was being compromised by short visits she said “Their safety, their independence their dignity.”

Sandie Keene the President of the Association of Adult Social Services which represents care managers across the UK stated that some short care visits were “fully justified and fully adequate” and that it was “totally wrong” to suggest all caring tasks require more than 15 minutes. Ms Keene recognised that community based social workers and their managers had to make difficult choices every day to give the best possible care to people in their own homes with very limited resources.

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