If you need some extra help with domestic tasks or personal care at home, here’s 10 things you should know before you choose a home care agency by SweetTree Home Care Services.
1. Seek financial advice
Contact your local authority (council) and ask for an assessment of your care needs. You could be eligible for Attendance Allowance or NHS Continuing Care. Attendance Allowance is funded by the Department of Work & Pensions. Visit https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance
NHS Continuing Care is a package of care funded by the NHS if you are assessed as having a primary health need. For information on NHS Continuing Care in England, visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/pages/nhs-continuing-care.aspx
2. Think about the care you need
Make a list of all the tasks you need help with, so you can discuss your requirements with a home care provider and you’re prepared for that initial conversation. Consider how your needs may change and ask if they have the capacity to increase the amount of care in the future.
3. Gain input from others
If you have friends or relatives who have employed a home care provider, talk to them about their experiences. ‘People want to know about others who have had care and support from elsewhere and to know that it was good care and support, says Nicki Bones, Director of Operations at SweetTree Home Care Services. ‘Find out what home care really looks like in your community to find out where the best services are.’
4. Seek professional advice
If you don’t know anyone who has used a home care provider, then seek advice and support from local healthcare professionals. ‘Talk to your GP or your district nurse for advice as they will have had experiences of home care providers,’ says Nicki.
5. Read the CQC report
Every home care provider will have regular inspections of its services or facilities from the Care Quality Commission (also known as CQC). The Care Quality Commission produces a report – called a CQC Report – which rates the quality of the service in terms of whether it is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. It’s advisable to choose a home care provider with a positive rating for all five categories. Find reports on Care Quality Commission’s website by searching for the name of the care provider. Visit http://www.cqc.org.uk
6. Ask for an assessment
Before taking you on as a client, the home care agency should make every effort to get to know you and your individual requirements in detail. ‘There should be a comprehensive assessment,’ says Nicki. ‘The home care agency should be asking questions – not just about medical needs or care needs or about moving, handling and risk assessments, but about quality of life outcomes. They should be looking at what will make a difference for the person receiving care. We take the time to listen to the family and listen to the client and find out all those important details.’
7. Aim for a better quality of life
It’s worth viewing home help as an opportunity to improve your quality of life. Look for a home care provider that offers not just personal care but the chance for you to socialise, engage with your local community and pursue interests or classes that you might be unable to attend on your own.
8. Meet the carer first
If you are going to have a regular carer then you need to be sure you’ll get along. Ideally it’s best if you have some common interests so that you can chat comfortably. ‘We try to match people’s interests up,’ says Nicki. ‘Both parties need to consider: “Can we have a good conversation about something we both enjoy?”’
9. Check the carer has received appropriate training
If you’re living with dementia, it’s important to find a carer with a specialism and extensive knowledge base within dementia. Are the care team specially trained? Do they work across a range of clients or really focus on the needs of those people with dementia?’
10. Ask if the care team will be consistent
While everyone needs to have holidays, the key to receiving good care is to enjoy a consistent relationship with a care team you know and like. Ask the home care agency if they can provide the same care team (ideally up to two people) with the exception of sickness or holidays, so that you aren’t opening your door to carers you’ve never met.
About SweetTree Home Care Services:
SweetTree Home Care Services provides a full range of domiciliary care and support to assist those with both basic and more complex needs including; Dementia, Learning Disabilities, Acquired Brain Injuries, Neurological Conditions and support for those at their End-of-Life.
For more information on SweetTree Home Care Services, visit http://www.sweettree.co.uk.