Care workers must increase the amount of time they spend visiting vulnerable people in their own homes, Government advisors have warned.

So called ‘flying home care visits’ to people with dementia could soon become a thing of the past. Latest guidelines from the NHS watchdog NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) stipulate that visits from paid carers lasting less than 30 minutes are not acceptable, unless they’re part of a wider package of care.

Care providers should, say NICE, ‘ensure service contracts allow home care workers enough time to provide good quality service.’ The guidelines also recommend that clients know their carers, using the same ones as much as possible, and that carers are trained to understand conditions such as dementia.

The news will be welcomed by charities and families of people living with dementia who have long complained that shorter visits – some lasting as little as five minutes – compromise the safety and dignity of the most vulnerable people in society.

However, recent figures show that eight councils in the UK have provided 593,000 care visits lasting five minutes or less over a three year period, blaming enormous financial pressure.

NICE accepts that extra money will be needed to fund the measures it recommends but believe they will save money in the long term, since good quality home care is less expensive than care homes or hospitals.

‘This guidance will not only provide reassurance for families who rely on this care but for the thousands of workers who want the time and support to be able to give people the care they deserve,’ said Care Minister Alistair Burt.