So, you, or an older member of your family is in need of social care, and you’ve decided to stay at home. That’s great! There are so many advantages to
home care. But if you’re planning to get direct payments, and want to choose your own home care provider, you may feel a bit unsure about what to look
You may also have already had home care via Social Services for some time, but now find yourself dissatisfied with the service you get. This is a common reason for people deciding to get direct payments and go their own way.
So, what makes a really good home care provider?
These three points may be quite basic, but they are crucial when it comes to getting a bond between you and your care provider.
1. Good two-way communication
Two way communication means when one party speaks, the other listens in an encouraging way and responds accordingly. It’s no good if one person speaks and the other doesn’t hear what they are saying.
It isn’t difficult to spot communication problems in advance. If you speak with the relevant managers at the providers you are interested in using, and find they talk over you, forget what you’ve said, or do not appear to be interested, these are all signs it could go wrong in the future.
If you meet managers in person, their body language should be congruent with what they say. That means it should back up their attitude towards you, and demonstrate their interest. For example, someone who is interested in what you have to say will face you; their body will face you; they will look at you; they will note down things of interest, and comment on what you say. Their face will register interest, and they will usually be able to maintain normal eye contact.
If you talk with someone on the phone, it is usually easy to identify someone who is listening or interested, simply by the tone of their voice and their behaviour.
2. Good attitudes about others
Even if the person who is the first point of contact with a care provider is interested and concerned about you or your family member, you should pay attention to how they talk about others. If you have a need that is a little out of the ordinary, such as getting in the coal for an open fire, or unpleasant, such as cleaning out the cat litter tray every two days, listening to how the manager refers to the care workers who will do those tasks, can be illuminating.
For example, if you ask the manager if ‘it will be okay to ask someone’ to do that task, and they respond with ‘they’ll do as they’re told’, that reveals a certain attitude that may not be particularly positive. On the other hand, if you ask the same question, and they respond with ‘no, no, of course, that’s fine, no job is too much,’ that sounds much more reassuring.
Care companies who care about their workers are more likely to care about the people they support, so if the manager is derogatory, negative, or uninterested in the workers themselves, you may wish to look further for a provider.
3. Qualified, trained, and experienced care workers
Although work is under way to bring most care staff up to the standard of NVQ level 2 in Health and Social Care, this is not a statutory requirement as yet. However, all care staff are required to complete the Care Certificate as part of their induction training for their organisation. Care providers are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and evidence of the completion of the Care Certificate is something the CQC looks for in its inspections.
However, sometimes you will find more experienced care workers who have been working in social care for many years. These people may not necessarily hold the Care Certificate or NVQ, but they are likely to know what they are doing.
What you shouldn’t find is inexperienced carers who do not know what to do. The Care Certificate covers everything from the concept of duty of care to understanding the importance of fluids and nutrition, being able to provide basic life support, and infection prevention and control.
You can find the fifteen standards featured in the Care Certificate training online at Skills For Care and you should be able to ask the manager of the care provider about the training and if all their staff have been trained in these aspects of care.
Finding your own care can be daunting, and it’s not without its risks, so we hope these three aspects will help you feel more confident when talking to care managers.
If you’d like to speak to our managers, please give us a ring on 020 8848 1380 or if you would simply like to see what we do, please follow Sahan Cares on Twitter or like our page on Facebook for more information about home care.