Home care providers come in many shapes and sizes. In some cases, they can be an individual or family friend whom you pay to provide some simple in-home care services like cooking, cleaning and personal care. At the other end of the scale are providers with national coverage and many care staff who can see to care needs in the home.
Generally speaking, people who are looking to arrange the ongoing care needs of a family member tend to seek out something in the middle. A local private care provider tends to offer the best of both worlds, meaning you can expect familiar faces offering a personalised level of care in a professional way. A local private care company should be able to cover care needs whenever they are needed, something that is not always possible with very small firms and individuals.
Other than the size of the care company and the number of personal care staff they have working in your area, there are some considerations you should consider when choosing private home care for yourself or a loved one.
One of the most important aspects of any in-home care service provider – and this applies whether you are talking about care provision or not – is trust. Without trust, it is impossible to feel comfortable letting someone into your home or the home of someone you care about. Of course, no one should start out from a position of mistrust or suspicion. However, what truly helps to build trust is to know that care providers are accountable for the services they operate. As such, you should look for a care company that is open, honest and transparent with its work. Ideally, you will be able to find one in your locality that has consistently good reports from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
When checking the CQC credentials of a given care provider, look for ones that have commendations in place for their management systems. Care needs can vary from day to day and as conditions change. What well-managed firms will do is respond to changing care needs by altering care plans in an appropriate way. In turn, this means that care workers need to feedback information through the management system so that the right decisions about care can be made. Equally, this should be relayed back to you. Essentially, this is what accountability is all about. With it, your confidence in the care provider will grow but without it, you might feel left out of the loop.
The best care firms make use of digital technologies so both you and the care recipient can track who will be visiting, when they will be coming, and which care tasks have been completed as they happen. Not only does this make care workers accountable to their supervisors, but it also means you will have live information on what is happening and when – again helping to instil a greater sense of confidence.
This isn’t just about ensuring you get value for money – although that is important, too – but to make sure your loved one receives care that is on time, respectful and dignified. Anglian Care is a local in-home care provider in Essex that uses app-based technology to feedback in real time the care needs of their service users. This means care staff can communicate with their head office easily and family members can see the progress of their care and keep up to date with anything the carers may notice when they are visiting.
Care should not be a single thing, especially when it is delivered in someone’s home, but a dynamic series of interactions between the caregiver and care recipient. By treating everyone as individuals with changing needs, a more person-centred approach can be achieved. By contrast, firms that deliver the same level of care to everyone tend to fail when it comes to certain parts of a care package, especially where intimate care services like washing and dressing may be called for, or tracking personal health over longer periods of time, for example.
Person-centred care means tailoring care so that it is appropriate and effective. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a friendly smile and chat and doesn’t need to go much beyond that. In other circumstances, it may mean being able to provide respite care, overnight care and even palliative care in a compassionate way. Look for a provider that offers all these types of care in-house without the need to subcontract to others.
Unfortunately, many people see the care sector as a low-skilled, low-paid industry. To deliver high-quality care, however, pricing will reflect the level of know-how and thoroughness that goes into delivering it well. Check the care provider’s website for information on what they pay care workers, whether it meets more than the minimum legal requirements, for example.
Good firms that have a strong reputation pay above the standard industry rates and always look to develop their staff professionally. What’s more, they often offer career pathways to dedicated carers. This is a sure sign of excellence that means, in the end, you can feel more confident in the level of care your loved one will receive from better-motivated staff.