Let’s look at what single handed care is?
The term Single Handed Care should be seen as an idiom and not a definition. The simplest understanding for the concept of Single Handed Care is taking a package of care, that currently has two carers to complete tasks and reducing it down to one carer. There are many advantages to Single Handed Care, but like implementing any effective change it needs good leadership and understanding.
So if Single Handed Care is so great, why hasn’t always been around and why is it so prevalent now? Standard practice has always been, that if someone was seen to be at “high risk of falls”, had “challenging behaviours” (this is an outdated term, which is really an expression of unmet needs) or had “complex” moving and handling equipment for “safety reasons” or “legal reasons” (often reasons that can be easily challenged) packages of care would require two carers.
When taken at face value this makes sense, hospital staff with massive pressures to clear bed’s have someone who is medically fit for discharge, but is inconsistent with their ability to stand up from a chair and walk to the toilet, the fear is, if they fall at home again they will just end up back in hospital. So the simplest solution is put in two carers, that way the Patient will be extra supported.
Or the most common example, someone ends up in hospital after a fall, prior to going to hospital they were independent with transfers and mobility, but after a few weeks in hospital they are now dependent on use of a hoist for all transfers. As they are medically fit, best practice is to get them out of hospital (because no one should be kept in hospital longer than they need to) since they need a hoist to transfer, then they will need two carers.
Is any of this thinking wrong, absolutely not. But is it the best approach?
As we have highlighted before, the NHS and Social Care are under extreme pressures, both financially with massive escalating pressure to spend and on their ability to deliver services to meet needs, such as having the right workers for the roles. By having two carers present at each care call, each package of care cost is doubled and one member of staff is not free to provide a service to someone else.
So by reducing carers from two to one, you have doubled your work force and saved money. For the NHS & Social care, this is a win win situation.
Key2Support work closely with Lancashire County Council, Occupational Therapists and Family to provide the individual care needs of our service users.