home care

Is The Home Care Industry In Crisis?

This week at IQ:timecard, we’re looking at whether the home care industry is reaching crisis point. Unfortunately, the answer seems to be a resounding ‘yes’ – the industry is heading towards catastrophe.

The recent report, Key to Care: Report of the Burstow Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce, puts it fairly succinctly:

If home care is not in crisis yet, it soon will be. More people need care and there is less money to pay for it and not enough people willing to do the work. It is not organised nearly as well as it could be and it appears designed to keep caring professional relationships from forming between workers and those they care for. We are probably lucky there hasn’t been a major home care scandal yet. If things don’t change, it may only be a matter of time.

So what needs to change in the home care industry in order to see some improvement? Let’s take a look at the factors.

Low pay

One of the key factors in the deterioration of the home care industry is the levels of pay that many workers are faced with – and especially the ongoing issue of unpaid travel time. Many of these employees must work lengthy shifts of 9 or more hours, but when they’re not paid for their travel time they often come out with less than the minimum wage for the hours they’ve worked.

Employee turnover

The knock-on effect of low pay is high employee turnover in the sector. The latest stats show that staff turnover is often more than 30% per annum, which means that many vulnerable clients of these in-home services are constantly welcoming new faces into their homes. Low pay and poor conditions not only lead to high employee turnover, but client dissatisfaction with the service.

Increased demand for home care

It’s a well-known fact that we’re standing in the face of a population crisis. For the first time in history, there are more than 11 million people in the UK aged 65 or over, and a third of the population are over 50. The number of people aged 60 or over is expected to pass the 20 million mark by 2030. With home care providers struggling to meet demand now, drastic changes are necessary if services are to cope with the growing needs of the population.

Budget cuts

Cuts in local council budgets are making it harder for home care providers to fulfil their duties. Between 2010 and 2014, public funder for in-home social care decreased by 10% in real terms, and 35% of councils have reduced the number of older people using their services by more than 40% between 2005 and 2013.

The solution?

It’s clear that huge changes need to be made in order for the home care system to recover. This essential lifeline for many older, vulnerable people is slowly failing, and will continue to do so unless action is taken.

Here at IQ:timecard, we can’t proclaim to be the miracle cure – though we can offer home care providers a multitude of benefits that could improve their services. With our integrated payroll solutions, our ability to help businesses become more efficient and our tracking capabilities that help increase productivity, we can empower home care companies to provide the service their clients need – even in the face of such adversity.