Council boss defends cost-cutting home visits to elderly

Hampshire and Southampton councils commission just 15 minutes of care from some firms.

Hampshire and Southampton councils commission just 15 minutes of care from some firms.

First published in Politics Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

THE council boss in charge of adult services in Hampshire has insisted that 15 minutes IS enough to care for some elderly and infirm people in their own homes.

It comes after the Daily Echo revealed last week that there were serious concerns over the care of pensioners being measured by the minute in the county as part of a massive cost-cutting exercise.

Both Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council commission just 15 minutes of care from private firms for some frail and disabled pensioners at home in a bid to save money.

Charities and campaigners for the elderly quickly moved to back the Daily Echo’s call for Hampshire councils to commit to giving the elderly and vulnerable pensioners the dignity of at least 30 minutes of care during visits.

But today Councillor Felicity Hindson, executive member for adult services at the county council, said that 15-minute visits are “appropriate” for some pensioners.

She said: “I would like to reassure Hampshire residents that Hampshire County Council continues to provide quality home care to everyone that needs it.

“We work very closely with individuals and their families to design personalised care packages. This could be a mixture of long and short visits along with supportive technology.

“The care package is agreed by everyone involved before suitable care is commissioned. In some cases, 15-minute visits are appropriate for the needs identified, for example to prompt someone to take medication.”

Criticism has also come from the care providers, who are warning that the care system in Hampshire is “at breaking point” as the council capped the fees it pays companies.

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The council saved £4.9m in 2010-11 by paying less for social care.

A few providers have shunned the new contract but others are cutting costs by paying carers little more than the minimum wage. Some are now struggling with recruitment and retention.

Care workers say they must also have an eye on the clock with the introduction of a new electronic system which monitors the precise times they start and end visits.

But Hampshire County Council aims to save £3.2m a year by paying only for the care that is delivered and rolling out this clocking-in system, which Cllr Hindson said will cost about £700,000 over three years to implement.

“The system has been welcomed by many providers as it demonstrates that quality service they provide by tracking how long they are visiting a client for and at what time of day,” added Cllr Hindson.

“When fully operational families will be able to check online if a visit has taken place, giving that all-important peace of mind to family and friends.”

Concerns have also been raised about claims that some elderly and disabled people are being put to bed as early as 5pm due to changes to night-time care.

However Cllr Hindson insists that the council has not reduced its night cover service and that carers make more than 500 visits every day between 9pm and 10pm.

Comments (19)

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3:28pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Redfield says...

Perhaps he'd like to just sit at home on his own for week after week and just see someone for 15 mins a day
Perhaps he'd like to just sit at home on his own for week after week and just see someone for 15 mins a day Redfield
  • Score: 0

3:43pm Tue 26 Jun 12

For pity sake says...

Redfield wrote:
Perhaps he'd like to just sit at home on his own for week after week and just see someone for 15 mins a day
HE is a she - the tight fisted old bag.
[quote][p][bold]Redfield[/bold] wrote: Perhaps he'd like to just sit at home on his own for week after week and just see someone for 15 mins a day[/p][/quote]HE is a she - the tight fisted old bag. For pity sake
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Northamboy says...

Felicity Hindson maybe correct if "it's just to prompt someone to take medicine"

However could Felicity ensure the public that the 15 minutes is not going to be the 'norm' and other tasks like washing/dressing or toileting will NOT be within the 15 minute time slot?

I think she seriously needs to look at this again otherwise her reputation in Southampton/Hampshir
e will be one of Scrooge rather than as a caring councillor
Felicity Hindson maybe correct if "it's just to prompt someone to take medicine" However could Felicity ensure the public that the 15 minutes is not going to be the 'norm' and other tasks like washing/dressing or toileting will NOT be within the 15 minute time slot? I think she seriously needs to look at this again otherwise her reputation in Southampton/Hampshir e will be one of Scrooge rather than as a caring councillor Northamboy
  • Score: 0

4:16pm Tue 26 Jun 12

seven777. says...

Cllr Hindson may in time find
out what its like to live alone with age related mental or physical disability.. if by then her mind will allow her to remember saying 15
minute visits are ok and the
Council provide quality home care she may wonder why she has been sat in her own s''t for hours and the person who turns up only has time to remind her to take her pills,heat up a can of soup and fill in a contact sheet.
Cllr Hindson may in time find out what its like to live alone with age related mental or physical disability.. if by then her mind will allow her to remember saying 15 minute visits are ok and the Council provide quality home care she may wonder why she has been sat in her own s''t for hours and the person who turns up only has time to remind her to take her pills,heat up a can of soup and fill in a contact sheet. seven777.
  • Score: 0

4:26pm Tue 26 Jun 12

SOLENTDRIFTER says...

ANOTHER **** WHO IS NOT IN THE REAL WORLD - CARE IN THE COMMUNITY MY A** .......
ANOTHER **** WHO IS NOT IN THE REAL WORLD - CARE IN THE COMMUNITY MY A** ....... SOLENTDRIFTER
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Tue 26 Jun 12

arthur dalyrimple says...

Can council tax be halved too? Only fair to adjust it to reflect the lack of services.
Can council tax be halved too? Only fair to adjust it to reflect the lack of services. arthur dalyrimple
  • Score: 0

7:39pm Tue 26 Jun 12

solomum says...

My break time at work is 15 minutes. This is just enough time to get a cup of coffee from a machine that is ready to go and to drink it. This would not be long enough if I had to boil a kettle to make coffee before drinking it, so how on earth can 15 minutes be enough to care for an elderly person. If elderly people are paying for their care, then they are in effect paying for a service that they are not receiving. This is disgraceful.
My break time at work is 15 minutes. This is just enough time to get a cup of coffee from a machine that is ready to go and to drink it. This would not be long enough if I had to boil a kettle to make coffee before drinking it, so how on earth can 15 minutes be enough to care for an elderly person. If elderly people are paying for their care, then they are in effect paying for a service that they are not receiving. This is disgraceful. solomum
  • Score: 0

7:43pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Inform Al says...

Take the carers travel time off this and the 15 minutes seems even more inappropriate.
Take the carers travel time off this and the 15 minutes seems even more inappropriate. Inform Al
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Tue 26 Jun 12

huckit P says...

My poor old mother takes 5 minutes to get to the bathroom. The carer can then begin to wash her and it then takes 5 minutes for the return journey to the sitting room. And before any smart a*** questions it my mothers flat is a one-bed, kithcen, sitting room arrangement. The original times for her carer were 45 minutes. This was reduced to 30 minutes and is now down to 20 minutes. It simply isn't long enough for her and she is very worried. Something that has no been mentioned is the ever-changing times that the carer shows up. My mother receives a weekly list of times that her carer will arrive and this can vary from 07:00 to 09:30. Nothing is regular (except change) and is another thing for a 90-year old to worry about. Just wait until the so-called councillors need to rely on this service!
My poor old mother takes 5 minutes to get to the bathroom. The carer can then begin to wash her and it then takes 5 minutes for the return journey to the sitting room. And before any smart a*** questions it my mothers flat is a one-bed, kithcen, sitting room arrangement. The original times for her carer were 45 minutes. This was reduced to 30 minutes and is now down to 20 minutes. It simply isn't long enough for her and she is very worried. Something that has no been mentioned is the ever-changing times that the carer shows up. My mother receives a weekly list of times that her carer will arrive and this can vary from 07:00 to 09:30. Nothing is regular (except change) and is another thing for a 90-year old to worry about. Just wait until the so-called councillors need to rely on this service! huckit P
  • Score: 0

8:31pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Ginger_cyclist says...

My mum works for carewatch and as a carer she is disgusted by it, she does up to 40hours a week and she will probably make around 100 visits a week because most of them are only 15 minutes, she also gets the odd call that is 30 minutes to an hour.
My mum works for carewatch and as a carer she is disgusted by it, she does up to 40hours a week and she will probably make around 100 visits a week because most of them are only 15 minutes, she also gets the odd call that is 30 minutes to an hour. Ginger_cyclist
  • Score: 0

8:38pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Vix1 says...

15 minutes is disgusting! Even if it is only to check that someone has taken medication, surely it is only decent to stop and chat for a little while?! Sometimes that carer will be the only person that elderly person may see!! This is exactly why I am no longer a home carer; caring doesn't come into it anymore!!
15 minutes is disgusting! Even if it is only to check that someone has taken medication, surely it is only decent to stop and chat for a little while?! Sometimes that carer will be the only person that elderly person may see!! This is exactly why I am no longer a home carer; caring doesn't come into it anymore!! Vix1
  • Score: 0

11:59pm Tue 26 Jun 12

Mewling Quim says...

How long can it take to fling them back under the stairs after a feed and a dump?
How long can it take to fling them back under the stairs after a feed and a dump? Mewling Quim
  • Score: 0

12:00am Wed 27 Jun 12

Mewling Quim says...

15 minutes, I just tried it.
15 minutes, I just tried it. Mewling Quim
  • Score: 0

7:58am Wed 27 Jun 12

skeptik says...

And just how many 'executive' or managerial ranked personnel have we on 100 grand plus on the council payroll. I shall look and write to Pickles with the results.
And just how many 'executive' or managerial ranked personnel have we on 100 grand plus on the council payroll. I shall look and write to Pickles with the results. skeptik
  • Score: 0

9:32am Wed 27 Jun 12

Taskforce 141 says...

What a god **** disgrace!

15 mins! Whoever believes that is sufficient, should not work or be in charge of care!
What a god **** disgrace! 15 mins! Whoever believes that is sufficient, should not work or be in charge of care! Taskforce 141
  • Score: 0

11:35am Wed 27 Jun 12

freemantlegirl2 says...

Taskforce 141 wrote:
What a god **** disgrace!

15 mins! Whoever believes that is sufficient, should not work or be in charge of care!
Agree, Felicity you're not doing yourself any favours or the city council by condoning this.

15 mins is NEVER enough for anything, it may be enough to go in and make sure someone has taken medicine BUT 'care' is also about the 'whole' person not just one issue. It should be 30 mins MINIMUM and always appropriate to that person's 'whole' needs. You are wrong and ill informed!

I cannot believe we are treating our elderly and vulnerable people like this - it makes me so angry and upset.
[quote][p][bold]Taskforce 141[/bold] wrote: What a god **** disgrace! 15 mins! Whoever believes that is sufficient, should not work or be in charge of care![/p][/quote]Agree, Felicity you're not doing yourself any favours or the city council by condoning this. 15 mins is NEVER enough for anything, it may be enough to go in and make sure someone has taken medicine BUT 'care' is also about the 'whole' person not just one issue. It should be 30 mins MINIMUM and always appropriate to that person's 'whole' needs. You are wrong and ill informed! I cannot believe we are treating our elderly and vulnerable people like this - it makes me so angry and upset. freemantlegirl2
  • Score: 0

12:06pm Wed 27 Jun 12

A Southampton resident says...

My wife used to work for one of the private companies that is contracted through Southampton city council to provide care. After factoring in travel time, her shift required her to spend no more than 15-20 minutes with each client. Any more than that and she would not be able to finish her shift in time.

Now consider that some of the clients had been sitting in their own mess for many hours and that they hadn't been fed either. You can either stick with the 15-20 minutes and rush off to the next client or else spend more time with them, cleaning them up and making sure they are fed then risk being disciplined by the company because you are not meeting your shift objectives.

On one memorable occasion, my wife asked me to buy a loaf of bread and a tin of beans so she could deliver them to one old dear who had nothing in the kitchen to eat and hadn't eaten since the previous day. My wife didn't have time to buy the food, clean and feed the old lady and still get over to the next client in good time.

Councillor Hindson is making herself look foolish. She should stop talking such ill-informed nonsense and get out into the real world where she will see just how little 15 minutes of attention really is.
My wife used to work for one of the private companies that is contracted through Southampton city council to provide care. After factoring in travel time, her shift required her to spend no more than 15-20 minutes with each client. Any more than that and she would not be able to finish her shift in time. Now consider that some of the clients had been sitting in their own mess for many hours and that they hadn't been fed either. You can either stick with the 15-20 minutes and rush off to the next client or else spend more time with them, cleaning them up and making sure they are fed then risk being disciplined by the company because you are not meeting your shift objectives. On one memorable occasion, my wife asked me to buy a loaf of bread and a tin of beans so she could deliver them to one old dear who had nothing in the kitchen to eat and hadn't eaten since the previous day. My wife didn't have time to buy the food, clean and feed the old lady and still get over to the next client in good time. Councillor Hindson is making herself look foolish. She should stop talking such ill-informed nonsense and get out into the real world where she will see just how little 15 minutes of attention really is. A Southampton resident
  • Score: 0

3:39pm Wed 27 Jun 12

Alixon says...

I have just spent a few days in the General and became friends with an elderly woman and her mum. The elderly lady was in for two issues but one was she had been left by her carers in her mess on a daily bases causing her problems, hopefully now she can make a speedy recovery and someone can look into her care.

I am disgusted by how people can treat the elderly when they have managed to change the way we live today.

Pay back time and more respect wouldn't go a miss.
I have just spent a few days in the General and became friends with an elderly woman and her mum. The elderly lady was in for two issues but one was she had been left by her carers in her mess on a daily bases causing her problems, hopefully now she can make a speedy recovery and someone can look into her care. I am disgusted by how people can treat the elderly when they have managed to change the way we live today. Pay back time and more respect wouldn't go a miss. Alixon
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Thu 12 Jul 12

TEBOURBA says...

I suggest that Felicity Hindson, instead of sitting on her backside and passing inane judgements from her ivory tower, takes on a carer's job for one week.
I suggest that Felicity Hindson, instead of sitting on her backside and passing inane judgements from her ivory tower, takes on a carer's job for one week. TEBOURBA
  • Score: 0

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