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Care quality is something many domiciliary providers will emphasise they provide, but everyone’s perception of quality will vary. We recommend these top 10 questions to ask your domiciliary care provider so that you can make the best decision for your own personal circumstances.
1. How will you make the care you provide personal to me or my loved one?
The reason most people choose home care over going into a care home is to maintain their independence and remain in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. With this in mind it is imperative that the service you receive at home is tailored to your specific needs.
As soon as you make your first enquiry with Guardian Angel Carers we will arrange for our experienced and qualified Care Manager to meet you and your loved ones in the comfort of your own home to discuss your personal requirements.
This Home Assessment is the perfect opportunity for you to meet us, address any questions you may have, and for us to explain everything to you. Together we will create your package of care, which will include your personalised care plan detailing your specific needs on each visit. Once your care plan has been created it will be left in a agreed convenient location in your home so any carer that visits your home will be able to work from the care plan, thus removing the need for you to tell carers what to do each morning but you can add or remove daily tasks as you wish.
We devote a lot of time to ensure that your package is personal to you and encompasses your interests, preferred daily routine and future wishes.
2. How will you ensure me or my loved one’s personal choices are respected?
Dignity and choice in care is a huge issue and the clients wishes should always be respected and followed as far as possible.
At Guardian Angel Carers we never force an activity or action on a client or override their decision to participate or decline from said activity even if it includes taking medication or personal hygiene. We do however have a legal and moral responsibility to safeguard both our clients and our carers so we will step in with the minimal of possible action if we feel that either party are being put at immediate physical harm. This may mean calling the doctor or next of kin if a client refuses to take life sustaining medication or preventing a client from undertaking a potentially harmful act such as burning themselves with scolding water.
3. How will you ensure me or my loved ones dignity is maintained at all times?
Ask the provider if they are a dignity champion. Launched in November 2006, the Dignity in Care Campaign aims to put dignity and respect at the heart of care services. A Dignity Champion is someone who believes passionately that being treated with dignity is a basic human right, not an optional extra. They believe that care services must be compassionate, person centred, as well as efficient, and are willing to try to do something to achieve this.
We are a dignity in care ambassador which means we train our staff in the importance of dignity and everything we do challenges and stretches us to think how we can improve our services and further support and encourage their dignity and independence. We are members of the local dignity ambassadors forum and attend quarterly meetings with other managers and carers from both the home care and domiciliary care sector where we all support each other to continue to push and improve the standards of care.
4. What sort of training do your staff receive? / How do I know that your carers are trustworthy / reliable?
It is important to understand the level of support and training that the carers who will be looking after you or your loved ones will receive. You should expect a minimum requirement for all carers to have been subject to a clear Criminal Records Bureau check, two professional references including the most recent or last employer and basic manual handling training.
All of our staff are subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check, two professional references including the most recent / last employer, manual handling training, food and hygiene training, regular supervision and support from care manager, excellent induction and care training, regular updates, annual appraisal, as well as having a 24 hr care manager on call to provide any additional support or guidance needed.
5. How many carers will I or my loved one have delivering their care service?
Continuity of care is so important not only for the client receiving the care but also for the carer providing the care. You need to be able to build up a working relationship so you know what to expect from each other during each visit. If you have a new carer each visit you will be having to repeat yourself and give out a fresh list of instructions and requirements every time?
Due to staff holiday and available working hours it may be impossible to always send only one carer. For example if you are receiving a 7 day 24 hour live in care provision, the carer cannot work those hours indefinitely without a break. Therefore it may be that you have one live in carer in the week and a different live in carer at the weekends.
At Guardian Angel Carers we believe it is important to send the same one, two or three regular carers (dependent on the size of your care package) so you are able to build a relationship with them. We will always ensure you are sent the most appropriate carer for your needs and situation.
6. Is the care provision limited to me or my loved one’s home?
While the main point of care will probably be provided in the clients home, you should expect that should they wish to they can be escorted on shopping trips, to the hair dressers or hospital appointments and even on days out. It is worth checking if the agencies carers have their own cars and have the relevant insurance cover to drive the client around. Having the ability to get out and about on trips and to appointments is such an important aspect of domiciliary care as it provides extra interest, stimulation and promotes independence, new experiences and social activities. It is never too late to take up a new hobby or interest and there is no reason why it should be limited to your home. Why not try a dance class or cooking class, or join a book group?! Your carer should be able to locate groups or classes in your area and support you to attend them!
7. How frequently will me or my loved ones care provision be reviewed or changed?
As a persons needs and abilities can change as quickly as within a matter of days, all good agencies should be using their carers to feed back to them a progress report on all clients and how they are progressing which should be closely monitored by the Care Manager. If they feel that any significant changes are occurring then the Care Manager should arrange to visit the client to re assess them. This should happen as often as needs be, but even if there are no changes in the client’s needs and abilities they should be reviewed as a minimum of every 12 months. Guardian Angel Carers has formal reviews every 6 months, however we have continuous feedback from our carers so are ready to implement any changes necessary quickly and effectively.
8. What will happen in the event of a public emergency like flooding or a public health epidemic?
All good agencies should have a public emergency process to put into place to protect and support all their clients. In the event of a public health emergency or natural disaster all clients will be contacted to first and foremost check that they are safe, well and have enough essential supplies to see them through the difficulties, and to explain any change in their care package during the emergency period.
It may be that some daily visits are delayed slightly but all clients will be prioritised dependant on vulnerability and even in the recent floods we had in West Sussex earlier this year we are proud to announce that none of our clients went without their normal care visits, even when it meant in more rural parts of West Sussex our carers had to abandon their vehicles on higher ground and continue the rest of their journey by soggy wet boots!
9. Do you have the legally required registration?
Everyone that supplies personal care to someone be it in their own home or in a care home must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who are the regulating body for the care providers and have a registered body number. The CQC are responsible for monitoring all domiciliary care services in England and they ensure that they are meeting the required standards of care and welfare. You can contact the CQC for help and support in making decisions and to report any concerns or complaints you may have about any care you or someone you known are receiving. For more information contact the CQC on 03000 616161 or through their website on www.cqc.org.uk
10. Am I able to meet my carer before they start?
The relationship you have with your carer is so important, as this is someone you will be spending a significant amount of time with, possibly assisting you in some very personal activities and you are inviting into your home. It is so important that after qualifications, training and experience have all been checked, you actually like and can communicate effectively with your carer. If you can’t do this, then the rest is all immaterial as the relationship won’t work.
Good agencies should allow you the ability to meet with your carer prior to the care package starting (there may be a small charge for the carers time) so you and your family or friends can meet with them, ask them questions and get to know them slightly before you start. You should also have the ability to change your regular carer should you not get on for whatever reason by simply contacting the Care Manager.