Summary of report content
Healthwatch Coventry identified from an annual national survey carried out to gather feedback from family carers to provide information to local authorities which have responsibility for respite care/carer support that there was a deterioration in satisfaction rates but a lack of detail as to why. They therefore decided to work with Coventry City Council to gather views about respite care/carers breaks in order to understand the reason(s) for this. Healthwatch Coventry carried out a survey and undertook enter and view visits to two residential respite care providers. There were 18 responses to the survey.
The survey and visits provide information about the experiences of both family carers and the cared for who access respite services. Both identified many positive aspects in their experiences of services.
Most family carers indicated that the respite received supported them to continue in their caring role by providing a break or enabling them to do other things they needed to do. Some carers indicated that more respite hours would be beneficial. Most people thought that the respite care they experienced meets the needs of the person who was cared for. Carers flagged that they need to book respite care ahead, some saw this as a positive but for others there were some issues around availability of/finding the right provision.
It was less clear if current provision could accommodate needs which came up quickly or in emergency situations of need. The assessment process was not positive for some as they did not feel needs had been taken on board/addressed and an assessment had not been done for some time.
The skills and approaches of staff delivering respite care, in whatever setting, are very important. The two facilities we visited demonstrated a strong approach to staff training. However if there were staff vacancies or absence this could impact on delivery.
Family carers highlighted a desire for more information and some issues around making sure information about circumstances/needs is up to date, as well as some issues in how services communicated with each other. Some simple steps could be taken to enhance and collate the feedback gathered from those experiencing services. For example, Facebook or an online feedback form could be used by family carers.
The City Council should:
- review access to respite services in relation to:
- Whether the provision available matches the profile of users
- How effectively urgent respite needs are being met
- Review effectiveness of or set up a system for updating on any changes that may impact on individual care plans and support required as they occur.
All stakeholders (social services, respite care providers, other professionals) should ensure they pass on information relating to any changes that may occur.
Respite care facilities should ensure there is a process for providing feedback to family carers after respite.
There should be a clear and universal feedback mechanism about experiences of respite care services and replacement care (however it is delivered) to gather feedback as people use services. Use of online routes for family carers to use should be explored alongside traditional methods.