Trevor Brocklebank, chief executive officer, Home Instead Senior Care
Felicity Hindson, executive member for adult social care, Hampshire County Council
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Home Instead Senior Care’s minimum call out time is one hour.
Chief executive, Trevor Brocklebank, would like to see the Government abolishing 15 minute visits and stipulating at least half an hour for a home care visit.
He says: "One of the central tenets of the care provided by Home Instead Senior Care is that it places the needs and desires of the individual at the heart of their care. We do many things to ensure that this is the case, but the starting point is always that we need to spend ‘quality time’ with our clients and for this reason our minimum call is one hour.
‘Quality time’ – now there’s an over-used term! What I mean by this though is ensuring our caregivers have time to properly carry out necessary tasks and duties, but also have time to sit down, have a cup of tea and a chat and, most importantly, to listen.
Apart from providing much needed social interaction, this time gives our caregivers (who are matched based on personality or a shared interest) the opportunity to spot changes in the client’s behaviour, for example, and also gives the client time to off load any concerns they might have. You can’t do this in a rushed, short-duration call.
We have a caregiver who is currently a finalist for a national care award. Because she spends quality time with her client she had noticed a change in her client’s behaviour and realised that something was playing on her mind.
After a gentle chat the client admitted that she had a health concern but was so worried about it that she hadn’t shared her concern with anyone. The next day our caregiver had arranged to take the lady to her doctor who, after a thorough examination and some further tests, was able to give the lady a clean bill of health.
Our service assures peace of mind for our clients, and their families. I firmly believe that this would not be the case were we to deliver care in 15 or 30 minute slots."
A survey by the United Kingdom Homecare Association found that in England, nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of homecare visits commissioned by councils are for periods of 30 minutes or less, with one in ten (10 per cent) visits commissioned for 15 minutes or less.
Councillor Felicity Hindson, defends council commissioning of 15 minute visits as she believes that "in certain circumstances, 15 minute visits can be helpful if, for example, a user needs a home visit to ensure that medication is taken, but this will be as part of a larger care package".
She says: "Hampshire County Council has been reducing the number of 15 minute visits over several years. However, we believe it is wrong to say that there is never any place for a 15 minute visit.
In all but a handful of cases, these visits form part of a larger package of care, such as longer visits at other times of the day.
Over time many of these checking visits will be replaced by telecare, but there will always be a need for a small number of these short visits to meet the individual needs of service users and carers. We are working with our providers to ensure that people receive the full amount of care that has been commissioned for them."