Summary of report content
Healthwatch Shropshire was commissioned by the local authority to undertake research with home care providers to discuss the services they provide, what they feel works well in the county and any areas where there are challenges. They also ran a survey of people who used home care. 102 people responded.
The research found that recruitment of staff has become more difficult and that this has an impact on the quality of care. The rurality of the county poses extra problems for providers in respect of travel time. Hospital discharges can pose problems for providers due to a lack of communication, mixed messages or failed discharges. For some, technology is making the administrative side of the business more efficient and improving communication.
Nearly 9 in ten of home care users found it easy to arrange their care and nearly 7 in ten did not have to wait for their care to begin. Over 4 in five were given a choice over when carers would visit and a similar number said that the carers did visit them at the agreed times. Almost all felt involved in making decisions about their care and that it was very easy or easy to communicate with their care provider. Continuity of care was found to be an issue with nearly a quarter of respondents feeling that they see too many different carers. More people who were funding their own care felt involved in decisions about their care than people who were receiving council or health funded care. Self-funders were also more likely to feel the carers visited them at the times they wanted compared with people receiving council or health funded care. There were a few negative comments about issues with the timing of calls, calls being late or changed. More people added positive comments about their care telling us that their carers or care provider are excellent or very good or that they are satisfied with the service they receive.
There were four recommendations aimed at care providers about the consistency of care, improving communication with customers, families and working with all people involved to improve the coordination and communication to reduce the chances of failed discharges occurring.