Spotlight on home care

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Summary of report content

Home care services are a highly valued service which is of great benefit to nearly 900,000 people in the UK. It is a service which is in high demand as the population ages, but is under significant financial strain in the state-funded sector. There have been a number of national reports in recent years, as well as media stories, raising concerns and the challenges within the home care sector. Healthwatch Newcastle has undertaken research in light of these reports, to understand better the views of service users in Newcastle upon Tyne. Healthwatch Newcastle carried out a large scale survey of service users, carers and relatives, and home care workers to gather their feedback on various aspects of home care services. Receiving 363 responses between October 2015 and January 2016 enabled us to gather statistically significant data from this seldom heard group of service users, carers and relatives. Our survey found that service users were very satisfied with the overall quality of care provided and value the service very highly. However, there were a number of areas where respondents called for improvements: continuity of care worker, communication between provider and service user, medicine management, care worker training, care worker punctuality and time allocation, how care workers are managed and supported, complaints handling and continuity of care worker and the communication between provider and service user were the two most important areas where survey respondents wanted to see improvements. Respondents spoke loudly about the negative consequences of having many different care workers providing care in their home, and about lapses in the correct provision of medicines. Ten recommendations have been made for service improvement, mostly related to implementing performance indicators to monitor improvement in the areas above. Healthwatch Newcastle hope these recommendations can be adopted as part of the new provider contracts to be commissioned in 2016.

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General details

Report title 
Spotlight on home care
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Newcastle Upon Tyne
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2016
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2016
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2016
Type of report 
Key themes 
Information providing
Quality of care
Quality of regulation
Quality of staffing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Social care services 
Home care / domiciliary care

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.