• Over half (51%) of homecare agencies in the UK provide a bad or poor quality service according to reviewers
  • One in four care homes criticised for their poor facilities and cleanliness, value for money and quality of care
  • Professional care for children consistently better than care for elderly

Homecare services are in a dire state according to the latest evaluation of reviews on Good Care Guide, the independent TripAdvisor style website for the care industry.

In an evaluation of over 7,000 reviews on the website, more than half (51%) of reviewers of homecare services slammed homecare agencies, describing them as providing a poor or bad quality service, contrasting sharply with 2012 when the equivalent figures was 23%.  42% were criticised for their poor or bad quality staff, while 47% were slated for their value for money, up from 23% in 2012.

The evaluation marks the four year anniversary of the launch of Good Care Guide, which went live in 2012 to give families a say about the care they have used – whether that’s care homes, homecare agencies or forms of childcare like nanny agencies or nurseries.  The site has proved very popular with families looking for an impartial view on care in their area.

Stephen Burke, Director of Good Care Guide said: “Ever since we launched Good Care Guide in 2012, homecare has been getting poor reviews, much worse than those for care homes and childcare and this is largely down to bad value for money, the quality of care and poor staffing. The decline in homecare reviews has increased in the last year.

“I can’t emphasise enough the need to provide carers with better training, more time and higher pay to do their jobs well.  Because of local spending cuts problems are exacerbated; there is poor communication by carers and their managers, lack of training, lack of knowledge of their clients and often missed or late appointments.  As a result, individuals are left risking their lives each day, not knowing if their care provider is going to turn up, if they’re going to be given the correct medication, or experience rude or abrupt service as staff either don’t have time to spend caring for them or the training to do their job well.

“This is just not good enough and the impact on the individuals and their families is devastating, with the onus on families to look after their older relative, pay for care themselves or struggle without help. As a result, more people are needing hospital care and can’t be discharged – which of course pressures the NHS even further.  The debate on the numbers is ongoing, but the much talked-about funding gap in social care is estimated to reach £3 billion by 2020.  So, if people think they are getting poor service now, unless that gap is plugged, things are likely to get even worse.

“Improving homecare needs to be a priority for the government; it’s a positive way to support people out of hospital, but the deteriorating quality and availability is undermining these aims.  The solution is more funding for councils beyond that already provided, joined up health and care budgets, better regulation of homecare by the Care Quality Commission and listening to the views of older people and their families.”

Common comments from reviewers on Good Care Guide website included staff who had failed to turn up either on time or at all, carers who had not given the correct medication or monitored an individual’s food and fluid intakes which is crucial for an individual’s condition, rudeness and neglect from staff and carers even falling asleep or stealing.

The latest analysis of Good Care Guide has revealed that while most homecare agencies have experienced a decline since 2012, care homes have actually improved in 2015 – potentially indicative of the CQC’s tougher inspection regime.  Quality of care was reported as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ in 68% of cases, up from 55% in 2014 showing a positive trend in care.  However, 20% of care homes are still described as providing ‘bad’ quality care, 23% were rated ‘bad’ value for money and 17% were given the worst rating for their level of facilities and cleanliness according to the evaluation.

Yet again, results indicate that children are receiving better quality of care than their grandparents and great grandparents.  Analysis found that 67% of nurseries and 62% of nanny and babysitting agencies were rated excellent for their quality of care.  However, the biggest bugbear from reviewers was the high expense of childcare.

Good Care Guide provides parents and families with the platform to find, rate and review care providers local to them.  The site works like TripAdvisor, and has proved popular with many parents and families as they embark on the difficult journey of finding the right care for their loved ones.

Good Care Guide recently launched a Caring Communities widget, enabling viewers to quickly see how care providers are performing in specific areas of the UK and compare with other areas.