One of the many ‘bug bears’ for many care workers delivering home care is the amount of time they are ‘scheduled’ for carrying out a visit. It could be too long or too short. This will then have a knock on effect to the rest of your scheduled visits.
Quite often, especially when it is a new package being put in place , this becomes a vital time to find out the reality of how long the visit ‘realistically’ can take. Personally I think at least a week should be used as a realistic timeline to figure out the appropriate time required. Especially at the beginning and an ongoing check as things settle down. This could be for many reasons, a couple of which can be improvement of your service users ability or a decline.
Only you, as the support worker going into visit will be able to gauge this and it should be done at the pace of the service user you are assisting and supporting .
1.4 Delivering home care
1.4.1 Ensure service contracts allow home care workers enough time to provide a good quality service, including having enough time to talk to the person and their carer, and to have sufficient travel time between appointments. They should ensure that workers have time to do their job without being rushed or compromising the dignity or wellbeing of the person who uses services.
1.4.2 Home care visits shorter than half an hour should be made only if:
- the home care worker is known to the person, and
- the visit is part of a wider package of support, and
- it allows enough time to complete specific, time limited tasks or to check if someone is safe and well.
1.4.3 Consider contracting and monitoring in a way that allows services to be delivered flexibly to ensure the person can identify what is a priority for them. This might include, for example, allowing provider organisations (with the person’s agreement or at their request) to use time flexibly.
The next stage would be to feed it back. ( Messing about with your time travel and other visits because ‘they don’t take as long ‘ is NOT the way to do it!! This is both neglect, abuse and bad time management not to mention shattering any amount of TRUST. It may be awkward to read this, however it can’t be swept under the carpet. )
Bad practice is unacceptable especially in such a delicate and trusted role. Once again DO NOT abuse this…you know better. You don’t cut corners on a persons well being.
Many years ago I had a call from a colleague asking me to change times around or hurry up with prior visits so that a ‘double up’ visit could be done earlier and quicker so that she could get home early!!! Of course I refused and yes I reported.
Managing risk associated with missed or late visits
1.4.10 Home care workers should avoid missing visits. They should be aware that missing visits can have serious implications for people’s health or wellbeing.
1.4.11 Closely monitor risks associated with missed or late visits and take prompt remedial action. Recognise that people living alone or those who lack capacity may be particularly vulnerable if visits are missed or late.
1.4.12 Ensure plans are in place for missed visits. These plans could include:
- making arrangements for a family member, carer or neighbour to visit
- giving home care workers contact details for this person
- setting out clearly in the person’s risk assessment what should happen if a visit is missed.
1.4.13 Put contingency plans into action when visits are missed or late.
1.4.14 Ensure monitoring of missed and late visits is embedded in your quality assurance system and discussed at contract monitoring meetings.
1.4.15 Ensure home care workers contact the person who uses services (or their carer) if they will be late or unable to visit, as well as informing their manager, if appropriate.
As an individual and a lone worker, you have a responsibility to ensure high quality care is provided. Of course for many it comes naturally and to take time to reflect on your own work practice, will only enhance your dedication.
Thank you for everything you do.