Falkirk’s home care service found to be weak

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A report into home care services provided by Falkirk Council has found serious flaws.

The quality of care and support, along with management and leadership, was described as weak by the Care Inspectorate, while the quality of staffing was viewed as only adequate.

Services were seen to have deteriorated in the ten months since the last inspection.

Most of the areas where the local authority’s service was deemed to be poor was in managing the teams of home carers, rather than the efforts being made by carers to look after elderly and disabled people.

People receiving the service were involved in giving feedback and, this revealed they were happy with the care and staff treated them with “dignity and respect”.

However, the number of different carers who people saw on a daily basis was a cause for concern.

One said: “Not happy that so many different carers have my key code to my property. I like all my girls but don’t agree with different girls having my key code.”

Another noted: “It’s difficult for me to know the names of carers when I can have 15 in three days (all different). I believe there are too many staff involved in my care.”

The care inspectorate said these practice “impacted negatively on people”.

Home carers were also unhappy with the situation and the reported noted: “Some staff told us they felt frustrated when they were asked to support people they had never met.”

Inspectors also highlighted “significant weaknesses” in the management and leadership of the service, with it difficult to determine how service delivery and improvement was coordinated.

It also found there was no effective audit system.

The report follows an inspection on May 17 this year which the council was given notice about.

It follows a previous unannounced visit from inspectors in July 2017 when the service received two adequate ratings and one good.

Patricia Cassidy, chief officer of the Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We have been working with our staff to re-model our care at home service. Service users and their families may naturally have concerns in respect of this report, however inspectors recognised that people described our staff as skilled, kind and caring.

“We will build on this strong foundation to increase the consistency and reliability of who gives the care and make sure service users know in advance of any changes. We will also develop a better oversight and monitoring of the service.”

Councillor Fiona Collie, spokesperson for health and social care, said “Staff are already working hard to make the service better but it will take time for the results and improvements to show.

“Service users did stress they were happy with the care they received from staff and overwhelmingly people said that staff treated them with dignity and respect. We’ll work closely with the Care Inspectorate to meet the requirements as quickly as possible and we want to reassure service users that they are our main priority.”