Care workers “too rushed” to give showers or meals to vulnerable people – UNISON report

showerVulnerable and disabled people are going without a wash, proper meals and trips to the toilet because care workers are too rushed to do their job properly, according to a report published by UNISON.

The report Making Visits Matter highlights the ongoing crisis in the UK’s care system, with three in five (63%) respondents getting just 15 minutes to help with personal tasks such as eating and drinking, or taking a shower.

The findings are based on a survey of 1,000 home care workers across the UK looking after people in need, including those suffering from dementia, strokes, Parkinson’s, or with learning disabilities.

Three-quarters (75%) of care workers responding to the UNISON survey said they ended up compromising the dignity of those they care for because they are too rushed – often because employers pressure them to fit in an excessive number of visits.

The majority (89%) of home care workers do not have time for a short chat even though the person they look after may not see anyone else that day, according to the survey.

The report also highlights the job insecurity faced by home care workers with more than half (52%) on zero hours contracts, and more than three in five (63%) not getting paid for the time it takes to travel between care visits.

Home care companies are issuing payslips that staff find hard to understand, says UNISON. This practice lets companies mask the fact that they are failing to pay the minimum wage, and stops workers receiving the money they are rightfully owed.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Care workers and those they look after are suffering because standards are routinely being breached. Care staff try to do their best within a system that increasingly prioritises quotas over compassion.

“Elderly and disabled people are ending up lonely, without dignity and with their care needs unmet. Care workers and the vulnerable people they look after will continue to be failed by a flawed system unless the government acts.”

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