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Local Healthwatch raise concerns about home care in Torbay

Yesterday, the Care Quality Commission placed a home care provider into Special Measures due to inadequate care. We find out what local Healthwatch did to raise the issue.

According to the UK Home Care Association, almost 900,000 people use services to help them live independently at home in the UK. People who receive care at home should expect to feel in control and their privacy and dignity respected. However, for many people this isn’t always the case. 

Yesterday, Healthwatch Torbay published a report on the failings of one home care provider. We spoke to Dr Kevin Dixon, Chair of Healthwatch Torbay to find out more: 

People felt anxious and unhappy about their home care

We started to receive a number of complaints from the public about a company who provide home care services to people. 

In our investigation, people who used the home care service told us that the provider was not adequately meeting their expectations. This was also confirmed by family and staff members. 

Poor care and support

People who received home care support from the company told us about some of the negative experiences that affected their care, including:

  • Over 87% of people we spoke to did not feel listened to. Requests were often ignored leading to stress for the patient, their family and care workers who were left feeling demotivated and guilty.

  • People didn’t know who would visit them or at what time, leaving them feeling vulnerable.

  • Care workers felt rushed and were not always given the right information, which meant they had insufficient knowledge of patient needs.

  • Inexperienced and poorly trained care workers were unable to do basic tasks, for example, using a microwave or making a bed.

  • Not knowing how or when to administer medication meant care workers couldn’t meet people’s needs safely.

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Working together to make change happen

We used the evidence collected from people to raise the issues with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). After an inspection, the CQC rated the provider as inadequate, and to ensure the safety and welfare of the people receiving care, the provider has also been placed into Special Measures. We are pleased to hear that the provider has agreed to make improvements for both people who use the home care service and care workers. This is a really positive outcome and recognition of team working between us and the Care Quality Commission.

This story shows the value of people sharing their experiences with us. We can't push for service change without public feedback, and we urge the public to continue to let us know exactly how local services are performing.

Read Healthwatch Torbay's full report.

Read CQC's inspection report.

Do you want to share your experiences of home care?

There is a local Healthwatch in every area of England. If you want to share your experience of using home care, why not get in touch with your local Healthwatch? 

Find your local Healthwatch