Satirical film starring Claire Sweeney highlights ‘absurdity’ of 15-minute care visits
Former Brookside actress and 60 Minute Makeover presenter Claire Sweeney features in a satire – commissioned by UNISON – highlighting the indignity suffered by thousands of elderly people because of 15-minute care visits.
The two-minute video has been made to show how cutbacks are leaving vulnerable and elderly people short-changed. Government cuts to social care budgets mean rushed appointments that do not give staff enough time to care properly, says UNISON.
The short film, 15 Minute Care Makeover, is a spoof and features actors. But it has a serious message – that a quarter of an hour is all many home care workers have to wash, dress and feed those they look after.
Claire Sweeney is shown with a stopwatch timing stressed care worker Nisha as she rushes around trying to get pensioner Frank ready for the day. At one point, Claire hands Nisha a bowl of cereal to feed Frank while he is in the toilet just to meet the 15-minute deadline.
The pensioner’s medication also ends up scattered on the floor. Nisha knocks it off the kitchen worktop by accident because Claire keeps telling her to hurry with her tasks.
At the end of the film, Claire blows a whistle and the ‘makeover’ is revealed. A bewildered Frank is shown in just a shirt, vest and underpants looking almost identical as he did when she and Nisha arrived.
The video is launched as nearly two-thirds (65%) of councils in England and Wales are still commissioning 15-minute care visits, according to figures from the union.
The findings are based on responses from more than 160 local authorities and include visits for handing out medication and for welfare checks.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This film highlights the human indignity suffered by thousands of vulnerable and elderly people across Britain.
“A care worker is often the only friendly face people see. The film sends a powerful message of the absurdity of giving care workers just a quarter of an hour to look after people.
“A 15-minute visit is not enough time to get people showered, dressed and fed. However, government cuts to council care budgets mean this is the reality for many.
“Care workers just want to care, but they’re forced to rush visits. Ministers must act now and invest properly in social care.”
Notes to editors:
– Click here for the 15 Minute Care Makeover film. Click here for images from the film.
– UNISON is launching a petition calling on Theresa May to provide more funding for care and to end 15-minute visits.
– The union sent a freedom of information request to 174 local authorities and health trusts (151 in England and 22 in Wales) in August 2016. They were asked if they commissioned 15-minute visits. A total of 59 said they did not, 76 said they did and 32 said they did, but not for personal care. Click here for the full results.
– The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence issued guidance in 2015 stating that home care visits should last at least 30 minutes.
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