New research published today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows that two thirds of unpaid carers view a lower standard of care during the COVID-19 crises as unacceptable, despite the massive pressures that care services and carers are under.
This comes as CQC calls on feedback from carers to better understand the impact of the pandemic on care and to hear the voices of those on the front line as part of its Because We All Care campaign.
The research also found that there is a lack of awareness on how to give feedback on care, with only 13% of adults in England saying they know about how to share feedback for care they have received themselves, and a similarly low proportion of carers don't have a lot of knowledge on how to share feedback for care received by someone they are caring for (12%).
The good news however, is that our research has found a willingness to give feedback - among carers and thinking specifically about care received by someone they care for, 42% are more likely to provide positive feedback on health or care services due to the coronavirus crisis while only 26% are more likely to provide negative feedback. Both positive and negative feedback are important to understand not just what is going wrong, but also to understand and share good practice.
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC comments:
"I know the incredible challenges that unpaid carers have faced over the course of the covid crisis and even before the pandemic and I know how valuable their contribution is not just directly to the people they love and care for, but to all of society. That is why I want to hear the feedback they can provide on the care that they witness, because through hearing this we can adapt and bring changes that matter. You can provide feedback to CQC at out Because We All Care page or to our contact centre on 03000 61616.
"Our research also shows the power and value that giving feedback on care can have. Over half (55%) of those who have provided positive feedback felt better as a result, and 8 in 10 staff value feedback from people and their carers. We use feedback to inform our regulatory action, conducting over 12,000 inspections since the pandemic began to ensure people are receiving high quality care. We could not do this without the concerns people raise, and the positive feedback on services which we are able to use to share good practice."
Responding to the launch of the carers element of the campaign, Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, at Carers UK said:
"It is vital that carers come forward and provide feedback to the CQC about their experiences of accessing care services - whether those experiences are positive or negative. Doing so helps services to understand what's working and what isn't when it comes to health and social care. This enables services to make necessary changes to ensure the delivery of good care, or to replicate best practice across other services. We know from unpaid carers that good care makes a huge difference to carers' own health and wellbeing, levels of stress and ability to juggle work and care.
Providing feedback on a health and care service that you, or the person you care for, have recently experienced is particularly important given the impact COVID-19 continues to have on services that carers rely upon. Carers' information is valuable to CQC as it helps them decide when, where and what to inspect. We will continue to work closely with CQC to ensure that carers' voices are heard loud and clear."
This follows research published in January by CQC which shows that nearly three quarters of carers (73%) say that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have had an impact on the mental health of the person they care for. Over half (56%) of carers say that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have had an impact on the dignity and independence of the person they care for.
CQC and Healthwatch England launched #BecauseWeAllCare to help improve care services for all by encouraging everyone to feedback on their experiences of health and social care. The public's views are needed now, more than ever, to help health and social care services respond to patients' needs - during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond - and improve the quality of care for years to come.
Concerns shared with CQC help the regulator to spot poor care quickly and take action. Whether you have positive feedback or a concern that a loved one or someone you care for is not getting the care they should, or is being put at risk, do not hesitate to share your concerns using CQC's online feedback form or to speak directly to your care provider.