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Church forum deplores care standards for elderly

21 May 2015 | by Joanna Moorhead

Care workers are being stretched to breaking point, with impossible expectations and pitifully low pay, according to a consortium of Catholic charities.

The Older People’s Services Forum criticised a “straight in, straight out” approach to home visits, which it said was distressing for both carer and client.

The forum, a working group under the umbrella of the Caritas Social Action Network and including the Caritas Diocese of Salford, Catholic Care Leeds, the SVP and the Father Hudson’s Society, this week called for a new approach.

“Jam-packed diaries mean domiciliary carers are forced to cram visits together, often rushing through tasks and leaving appointments early to try to stick to some sort of schedule,” said the forum’s chairman, Mark Wiggin.

“Fifteen minute visits offer little dignity: we wouldn’t ask ourselves to make a choice between going to the toilet or getting dressed and neither should we do the same for elderly and vulnerable people.”

Because local authority-provided care workers were so overstretched, said Mr Wiggin, many Catholic charities had decided not to enter into contractual arrangements with them, since they could not provide the level of individual care that a Catholic organisation would require.

But he said this was not helping to resolve the problem, and now the Church needed to put its head above the parapet to try to drive change. The forum believes that government leaders locally and nationally need to be far more creative in their response to the issues. One way forward, Mr Wiggin said, might be to put some resources into providing training for volunteers such as SVP members who wanted to help not because it was their job, but because they wanted to be good neighbours. 



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