Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Elderly care criticisms revealed

The Good Care Guide allows people to find, rate and review care providers

Nearly three-quarters of people are concerned about the care their elderly relatives receive, with many thinking it is substandard, new research has shown.

A study of reviews left on feedback website the Good Care Guide showed that many people viewed elderly care as needing improvement, with nearly three quarters (71%) of negative reviews on the site directed towards care provided by homecare agencies and care homes.

The Good Care Guide, launched a year ago, works like TripAdvisor, allowing people to find, rate and review care providers.

An analysis of more than 2,000 reviews - which grouped those with 0-3 stars as negative, and those with 4-5 as positive - revealed concerns for the care elderly people receive, with 71% of negative reviews directed towards homecare agencies and care homes.

Almost a quarter (23%) of those left for homecare agencies rated them as having substandard care, with care homes close behind at 15%.

The biggest concern for more than 84% of people choosing a care home was cost and quality of care or specialist care, the reviews suggested. In contrast, the quality of care children receive was rated highly, despite being expensive, with 90% of those who wrote on the site about childcare leaving positive reviews.

But childcare providers were rated low for value for money - 8% of childcare reviews were negative specifically about the value for money, with comments including "horrendously expensive", "costs most of my salary", and "can't afford full time childcare".

Good Care Guide director Denise Burke said: "There are several interesting issues that arise from an analysis of the first 2,000-plus reviews left on Good Care Guide.

"Whilst childcare has consistently been better rated than eldercare, comparing childcare and eldercare is of course a bit like apples and pears - 24/7 care for older people, many with severe dementia, is quite different from nursery care whether it's for 15 hours or 40 hours a week.

"Worst rated by families on Good Care Guide has been homecare. These services have perhaps been squeezed most by local authority spending cuts. Many complain about 15-minute appointments, about different carers turning up or carers who are poorly trained and paid."