Healthwatch England made the recommendation in a report on the experiences of people who use home care services.
Reviews of peopleâ€™s care and support plans should be completed more frequently than once a year, a report by Healthwatch, the service user watchdog, has said.
The report said reviewing care plansÂ should instead be a â€œcontinuous processâ€, particularly in cases where a personâ€™s ability to do things for themselves might be changing rapidly.
Under the Care Act, councils should review care plans no later than every 12 months
The report looked at the experiences of people using home care services. It included information from 52 local Healthwatch organisations, and the experiences of 3,415 service users, their families and frontline staff, collected through events, surveys and site visits.
It also found that care workers were frequently unfamiliar with their clientsâ€™ care plans and when it was a staff memberâ€™s first visit, there was often not enough time to read the plan.Â In some cases, this was leading to â€œserious problemsâ€, such as medication being missed.
A survey of Â 363 people in Newcastle, found one in seven had experienced medication being missed because of the home care provider. One in six respondents also said they felt the provision of medication was either â€œpartlyâ€ or â€œneverâ€ safe.
The report recommended that automatic notification systems could be introduced to update staff about important changes to care plans, or prompts could be left around peopleâ€™s homes as a reminder of their preferences.
The report also said local authorities needed to be more realistic in care plans about how much is achievable in the limited time available in most home care visits.
It found that only half (56%) of 73 people responding to Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwenâ€™s survey felt there was sufficient time to complete all tasks set out in the care plan.
A service user told Healthwatch Redcar and Cleveland: â€œSometimes they give me a shower but they go over their time but most of the time they havenâ€™t got time to give me one so I go a couple of weeks without one and thatâ€™s not right, I feel dirty.â€
Home care workers in Torbay also reported â€œunrealistic staff rotasâ€ that left them exhausted and having to carry out double-handed care tasks on their own.
SomeÂ service users also reported thatÂ staff lacked basic skills such as being able to boil an egg or make a bed, which resulted in poor care.
Neil Tester, deputy director of Healthwatch England, said: â€œWe heard examples of compassionate care from dedicated staff, but people also talked about care that doesnâ€™t meet even basic standards. Given the challenges facing the social care sector, itâ€™s more important than ever than ever that peopleâ€™s voices are heard.â€
Margaret Willcox, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: â€œMost adult social care services in England are providing people with safe, high quality and compassionate care. That they are doing this in the context of rising demand and inadequate funding is a tribute in itself, but there is always room for improvement.â€
Story is reproduced courtesy of Community Care -Â http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/08/24/care-plans-reviewed-year-says-watchdog/
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