5 or 15 minute care visits? My cat receives better care!

I wrote this over a year ago, now the issue is 5 minute visits!

I enjoyed a weekend in Cornwall recently, as per usual we had to make arrangements for Barney (our 18yr old tabby with two pinned hips and one blind eye). We use a fantastic agency who come in and not only feed him but spend time with him, each visit is about 45 minutes long to ensure there is time for a bit of pampering. On our return we read about Barney’s exploits since we have been away telling us how he has been. If only the care of humans was as advanced!

The focus on 15 minute visits masks a fundamental problem with the direction of travel in the provision of health and social today. Care is not a commodity to be bought and sold like any other, therefore business practices that are currently framing their commissioning and delivery are not appropriate. Issues around zero hours contracts, travelling time for carers and low wages need to be addressed. If we are unable to treat those who provide care decently how do we expect those who use services to be viewed as more than a consumer of a ‘product’?

Care should not be viewed as a unit to be delivered, care is all about compassion, dignity, respect and integrity. Until we grasp this nothing will change. I am sure there are many out there who can only dream of receiving the same level of care as Barney, shouldn’t we really begin to re-focus our energies into developing a system of care that is actually caring?

(p.s In case you are wondering how much Barney’s care costs, £7.50 per visit)

About digalpin

I gained my social work qualification from the University of Southampton and worked for 14 years in mental health, disability and older people services. I am currently a senior lecturer in post-qualifying social work at Bournemouth University and am conducting research on government and societal attitudes and responses to the mistreatment of older people in health and social care provision for my doctorate. My views are my own.

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