What Is Wrong With 15 Minutes?


With an ageing population, Social care is becoming a bigger issue that is only starting to be understood in the public domain, although there is still much confusion about the specifics. This is not helped by the many charities and organisations who are muddling the waters with their own version of what social care is or should be, with the desire of increasing their stake and ‘profit’ within the sector.

One issue many charities has latched on to as a ‘vote winner’ is the idea that it is very obvious that 15 minutes calls are universally wrong and inexcusable. But is this really the case? Like always, I would like to unpick this shortcut statement and reveal things are not as simple as those complaining wish you to believe.

A 15 minute call means a care worker is sent to someone’s home to work with them for 15 minutes. Those complaining want the public to imagine that this 15 minute call is what is called a ‘get up’ call, helping someone to wash, get dress and have breakfast, and of course you can not do this in 15 minutes. But it is important to note that 15 minute calls represents a small proportion of the length of calls offered to people and a longer call is more likely, especially for ‘get up’ calls.

The nature of social care is that everyone’s needs are unique and while it is easy to paint a picture where a 15 minute call is unsuitable, there are many examples where a 15 minute call works well, such as if someone just needs help undressing before bed.

For some people, it is important to them to be as physically independent as they can and so they welcome short calls just for that little bit of help. Forcing them by law, which some charities have demanded, to have more care then they need may be very disempowering and disruptive to the way they wish to live. Why would anyone what complete strangers in their home for more time than is necessary and it is quite insulting for these charities to think any different.

One of the biggest concerns being suggested by those who oppose 15 minute calls is that care workers do not have time to ‘chat’ with their users. This is on an assumption that disabled and older people are always socially isolated and completely dependent on these strangers for their contact with the outside world, like the internet does not exist. This concern is often not from those who require care and support, but families who see the role of care workers is to do the social interaction that they should be doing themselves, as well as providing the physical care needed.

While requiring care workers to chat with users looks good on paper, with those care workers with poor communication skills, this would end up with the government forced to issue a list of questions which care workers would be required to ask in a random order to tick the box, making the whole situation meaningless. And I am sure most users just want care workers to focus on the job at hand. Would you want shop assistants to be required to asked you how you were feeling and make a comment on the weather before they can serve you? Probably not but this is what some charities want care workers to do!

The reason it is easy to be against 15 minutes calls is it is in no ones interest to disagree especially if you want to look politically correct. Users are always going to say they need more help, and care workers will always say they can do a better job with more time. The care agencies always want more work and social workers, who makes these decisions, are always going to blame funding because they do not want to look like the bad guys. Because no one is going to properly and independently assess whether specific 15 minutes calls are working or not, the facts of the situation are not known.

And even if the government banned 15 minute calls, demonstrating you can have personalised support but only in the way we say you can, who is going to pay for it? The obvious target will be those with higher support packages, like myself, who seem not to matter so long as we no longer have 15 minute calls! People’s lives should not be dictated by peer pressure and political correctness but guaranteed if these charities get 15 minute calls banned, they will pick a new and probably stranger issue to campaign about, with as little evidence and thought as this one!

from Simon Stevens http://ift.tt/1nAOnhe

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