Making a decision on a home care provider can be a difficult and daunting one. With little prior experience of the subject individuals may look to family and friends for support and advice on what works best, what they should seek out, and most importantly who should be providing the care. There are a variety of things to consider when making any decision.
In June 2016 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new guidelines on what home care for older people should consist of and to what standard. The most significant of these was that all older people receiving home care must be subject to a plan that clearly identifies what their priorities are and how these will be successfully met. It was also stipulated that this plan must identify how any home care provider will deal with and respond to late or missed visits. An initial review of this plan is to take place after six weeks of the care starting, with annual reviews coming thereafter. Care must come from a consistent team of workers, all of whom should be familiar with the needs of the individual they are supporting. The visits of the carers must be at least 30 minutes in length except when shorter visits have been stipulated and agreed on as part of the care plan. With these guidelines in place, the framework for what people should expect from home care is firmly set. There are however many other elements to consider, outside of these practical and formal points.
One of the most important things that people should expect from any home care is to feel comfortable. As the aim of home caring is to put in place something structured and perhaps long-term; feeling relaxed in the carers company is an important thing. While individuals may vary slightly, it’s important to see faces that are familiar in order to help this process. As a result the carers will come to know an individual’s personal preferences, likes and dislikes, and personality traits. Things like assessing someone’s sense of humour and views on matters only come through familiarity, something that should be expected from a home care provider.
Feeling cared for
While it may seem fairly obvious to expect a home care service to care for you, it’s important to acknowledge that care can take many forms. Aside from the physical and everyday needs that should be provided; things such as assistance with visiting the toilet, personal hygiene and meals for example, the more social and psychological aspects of care should not be forgotten. As mentioned above, knowledge of likes and dislikes is important in making someone feel cared for. Feeling cared for can also encompass an understanding and compassionate attitude to age, religious beliefs, sexuality, race etc. That any home carer treats someone with the requisite respect and dignity relevant to things like this is part of a true care and support package.
The way in which any home care service provider runs their operations is also important. Like any business, employees that feel happy, valued and well treated will inevitably produce a higher standard of service. If a staff team feels that they can trust and rely on their management, any problems, concerns or even methods of improvement will be far more widespread, and any risks that are avoidable are far more likely to be discovered. A sense of honesty should also pervade as a result of good management; if things do go wrong or mistakes are made in some aspect of care, the absence of attempts to divulge blame or ‘cover things up’ will be notable.
While a way of providing home care may be perfect for one person, for someone else it may be precisely what they don’t want. Things such as bed times and meal times vary wildly depending on personal preference, and this should be reflected in any good home care. These things may of course change over time, and this too should be something that is considered and accepted. Home care providers should be open and easy to approach so that individuals feel at ease to state their preferences, realise they have choices in what is provided and when, and will have these choices implemented if at all possible.
Home care provision should provide a suitable element of flexibility to cover the changes and demands that any life brings. Things such as doctor and hospital trips, visits from friends and relatives, both planned and unexpected, hairdressing appointments and medical check-ups may play a part in meaning that home care should adopt a flexible and positive approach to short-term change. Where possible (for example in the case of a scheduled hospital appointment) the home care provider may be able to assist with the planning or the implementation of the trip if necessary.
To find out more about our home care services, visit Team24 Private Nursing today.