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Flying care visits for elderly and disabled on the rise

According to a new report, 15-minute "flying" care visits are on the increase with patients often forced to choose between staying thirsty or using the toilet

Leonard Cheshire Disability found three-fifths now commission 15-minute care visits to the elderly or disabled

Elderly and disabled people receiving "flying" care visits are being forced to choose between staying thirsty or going to the toilet.

Data obtained from 63 local authorities by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability found three-fifths now commission 15-minute care visits to the elderly or disabled.

The charity also estimates the proportion of visits that last 15 minutes or less has risen by 15% over the past five years, despite "major concerns" the short visits "deprive" people of essential care.

The report also said the short visits "simply do not allow enough time to deliver good-quality care".

But the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) argued sometimes the short visits are "fully justified, and fully adequate".

However, Clare Pelham, chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability, called for care visits to be at least 30 minutes long.

"Every day, many disabled and older people in the UK receive personal care, it is disgraceful to force disabled people to choose whether to go thirsty or to go to the toilet by providing care visits as short as 15 minutes long," she said.

"Most of us need 40 minutes to get up, get washed and dressed and have breakfast in the morning. None of us would want our family and friends to receive 'care' visits as short as 15 minutes. We should demand better from our councillors and remind them disabled people are real people with real feelings and should be treated as they themselves would wish to be treated - with kindness, with care and with respect.

"It is vital that Parliament backs our call to end the indignity of rushed care which thousands of disabled people face every day. The clock is ticking and this crucial Care Bill vote is Peers' last chance to stop this practice for good."

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Care minister Norman Lamb said "human contact" was a vital part of caring for the elderly and councils are not using their money to good effect.

He said: "I think there has to be a much richer collaboration between the statutory services and the community and volunteers.

"There's nothing worse than loneliness and isolation. It damages your health.

The Government's plans would help ensure money is being better spent, according to Mr Lamb.

He added: "We are not spending the money that's available to us nearly effectively enough. We should be focusing much more on preventing ill health, preventing the deterioration of health, getting the two fragmented parts of the system (care and social health) working much more effectively together."

 

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