Care cuts crisis leaving older people without adequate care, says UNISON

Vulnerable older people are being denied regular showers and visits to the toilet because of cuts to social care budgets, a UNISON report has warned today (Friday).

The Damage: Care in Crisis is based on a survey of more than 1,000 staff across the UK working in homecare, residential support and day services, and looking after those with chronic health conditions such as dementia.

The report highlights the devastating impact of the government axing billions from council funding over the last six years.

More than three in five (63%) of those who responded to the survey said they had less time to spend with the people they care for because of staff shortages. Nearly two thirds (65%) are doing their job alongside fewer staff than six years ago.

More than a third (36%) said the rationing of supplies and cutting corners had increased as a result of budget cuts. Essentials such as bed sheets, incontinence pads and wipes are being rationed, according to the report.

Some care home residents are not getting access to showers and regular visits to the toilet, or they are being left in wheelchairs, because staff are too busy to help them into more comfortable chairs.

One worker who took part in the survey said: “I see clients whose health has deteriorated because not enough time is being spent with them.”

UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield said: “Cuts have left a trail of destruction and this is affecting those in desperate need of care.

“Care workers do a vital job looking after the most vulnerable in society. But they’re not getting the support they need from their employers.

“Everyone deserves decent care in their old age. But if the government doesn’t act now millions of people will be left facing a bleak and uncertain future.”
Notes to editors:
– The Damage: Care in Crisis was based on a survey of 1,075 staff including care assistants, day care organisers, home care staff and residential care workers. The survey ran from 3 August to 9 September 2016. A copy of the report is available here.
– UNISON’s Save Our Local Services (SOS) campaign aims to raise awareness of spending cuts and their impact on communities and the staff employed across our public services. MPs will be asked to pledge support for the campaign at an event on Wednesday (16 November) at Portcullis House, Westminster from 12.45 to 2pm.
– A total of £12.5bn has been cut from local government services in England since 2010.
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