Disabled and frail people in Northamptonshire ‘put to bed at teatime’ by home helpers

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Disabled and frail people are sometimes being put to bed at 5pm to fit in with home help schedules, an independent report says.

The report, by Healthwatch Northamptonshire, was written based on interviews with people who have home help from two unnamed county firms, as a snapshot of the 4,500 Northamptonshire residents who receive it.

Although 89 per cent were at least “quite satisfied” with their help, the report revealed tight rotas meant slots were sometimes allocated for the convenience of the care company rather than the happiness of the person they are paid to help.

Comments given to Healthwatch showed frail people endured excessively long periods in bed as they could not be visited until 10am. One described how they would like to go to bed at about 7pm but could only bevisited at 5pm.

The report added: “There was particular concern about people with diabetes who needed a regular meal to manage their condition.”

Other issues highlighted had a root cause in care workers’ pay and conditions. The report said high turnover of workers, who were not being incentivised to stay, was “not acceptable” to people and caused confusion and security worries for dementia patients.

Healthwatch said: “To develop a skilled workforce who are motivated to stay in their jobs, training and development career progression and pay need to be reviewed.

“Commissioners [usually the county council] can set standards through the contract process.”