East Renfrewshire’s care at home service labeled “unsatisfactory”

The “chaotic” home care service offered in East Renfrewshire left one patient praying for more funding to deal with staff shortages.

A damning Care Inspectorate report rated East Renfrewshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership’s ‘care at home’ service “unsatisfactory” and “weak”.

Now, health chiefs say a “robust” plan has been produced to deliver improvements.

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Kate Rocks, chief social work officer, told councillors the service was “delivering poorer outcomes than we would wish at this time”.

“There is a robust improvement plan in place and we do hope we will see improvements over the forthcoming year,” she said.

The care at home service provides support to hundreds of people of all ages, with varying needs. These include individuals with a physical or learning disability, people with long-term health conditions, older people experiencing frailty and those living with dementia.

More than 100 questionnaires were completed by service users and their family members. One response said: “The service seems undermanned and to be honest, chaotic, leading to uncertainty in who is coming and when. This causes endless stress to me and to the carers.”

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Another person said: “Because of shortage of staff I’m often attended by a stranger, who introduces themselves. But I find it upsetting when I have to tell them what I need, I don’t know their names. 

“I have no idea what can be done apart from praying for more funding.”

The report was released following an unannounced inspection earlier this year, with the service graded as unsatisfactory for both care and support and management and leadership and weak for staffing.

It stated: “Individuals spoke very highly of the support workers and their care and compassion however, the service is delivering poor outcomes to service users due to lack of consistency/continuity of care, lack of communication with organisers/management, poor medication practices and lack of service user and their carers involvement in assessment and care planning.”

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The service has been given nine requirements and one recommendation to meet. Council leader Tony Buchanan said: “We know we have difficulties with our care at home service and that is currently being monitored and managed.”

The improvement plan includes new processes for care and support personal plans, updated training on medication management and training on complaints handling.

It will also involve changes to scheduling home care, addressing recruitment and retention of staff and improving staff supervision.

The Integration Joint Board, a partnership between East Renfrewshire Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, has agreed a £750,000 investment in care at home, with £250,000 taken from reserves to meet costs such as recruitment and training.