‘DISTURBING’ cases of home care in Dorset including some workers ‘unable to boil an egg or make porridge’ have been revealed in a new report. 

Failings from Dorset highlighted in a Healthwatch England report reveal someone waited three years for a medicine review, a care user had 44 different carers in a year despite being promised no more than four and even a care user has to repeatedly explain their own needs despite having dementia because staff never read the care plan. 

People receive care at home for a number of reasons including getting help with day-to-day tasks such as washing, dressing and cooking or help taking their medication. 

The Healthwatch report, drawn from experiences shared by 3,415 home care users across the country including 700 from Dorset, their families and staff, suggests home care is in a ‘fragile state.’ 

Across England there are more than 8,500 home care providers, collectively helping an estimated 673,000 people. 

Yet Healthwatch identified a number of problems in various parts of the sector including; staff being unfamiliar with the needs of their clients as set out in the care plan, staff not having enough time to fulfil all their duties, the level of skill held by care workers and care packages being “designed to meet the needs of the service provider rather than the service user”.

The report reads: “Many of those who spoke about their experiences said they valued the dedication and experience of those sent to care for them. 

“However, others lacked experience and basic skills, such as being able to wash someone or make them breakfast.” 

“A resident told Healthwatch Dorset that one of her carers was unable to boil an egg or make porridge, while another person said care workers needed to be taught ‘home care common sense.’

Healthwatch, the health and care consumer champion, stressed that most people had positive things to say about their domiciliary care.”

particularly the dedication of staff – with many older people praising the service.

because it enables them to remain in their own home and to maintain as much independence as possible.

Healthwatch Dorset chairman Joyce Guest said: “Over 80 per cent of the people who took part in our survey told us they were happy with the home care service they received. But we also heard disturbing stories from some relatives and friends about poor care and instances where people had not had a medicines review for the years. People told us that they would like better continuity of care workers, to have care provided at the times that suit them, to be listened to more and to have more choice.” 

“This national Healthwatch report will really help to highlight the issues we’ve raised locally and work towards creating better services for local people.”

Findings from Healthwatch Dorset’s report ‘Where the heart is’ have been used to develop new strategies for home care services across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset as well as encourage greater use of user feedback. See healthwatchdorset.co.uk