What questions should I ask a home care provider?
Beginning your search for home care can feel quite overwhelming, particularly if you have no prior experience of the care sector, and are looking for a care team which can not only meet your individual needs, but who you are also happy to welcome into your home.
It can be hard to know what questions to ask of a potential home care provider to check that they will be able to provide the high-quality, regulated, reliable and consistent care which you deserve.
Here are three important considerations to bear in mind when choosing your home care provider:
1. Does the care provider have an independently-assessed track record of delivering safe and high-quality care?
Regardless of all other considerations, your safety must come first.
Most of us wouldn’t feel comfortable accepting the diagnosis and treatment of an unregulated doctor, so why would you risk your own safety and wellbeing by appointing an unregulated care provider?
For the assurance that your chosen care provider has been assessed as delivering safe and high-quality care, look to industry regulators the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC regularly and routinely assess all regulated home care providers to ensure that they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led, and publish their reports online.
2. What qualification, training and checks are in place for the provider’s care team?
Once you have satisfied yourself that the care provider is regulated and rated as Good or above by the CQC, have a think about the provider’s care team. These are the people that you will be inviting into your home, and who will be personally delivering your care, so you need to be able to trust that they know what they are doing, and are using their knowledge, skills and expertise to act in your best interest.
It would seem a fairly basic requirement that the care provider has carried out a DBS (criminal record) check on each of their carers, and ensured that they are trained, authorised and equipped to deliver excellent care. However, you may be surprised to learn that many smaller, and often unregulated, care providers are not legally required to do this.
For your own peace of mind, choose a care provider that invests in ongoing training for their carers, has shown diligence in carrying out background checks, and has policies and procedures in place to ensure that the care you receive is delivered by qualified, professional carers who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver the care you need, in your own home.
3. Will you still receive care if your regular carer is unavailable?
Reliability and continuity of care is so important – you don’t want to be left wondering if your carer will turn up, or if cover will be provided for them if they fall sick or go on holiday.
One of the benefits of choosing a larger, regulated care provider is that they have the flexibility to ensure that you will still receive the high-quality care you need, even if your regular carer is unable to support you. As your care records are held by the care provider (not an individual), you can be sure that whichever member of your care team is supporting you, they will have access to the same information and understand how best to take care of you.
Make the right choice for you
You are the best person to decide if a care provider will be able to support you to live the life you choose, in your own home. Use the care provider’s care assessment process to ask any questions you may have – remember that this is just as much an opportunity for you to interview your care provider, as it is for them to understand your care and support needs!
Everyone has the right to a well-trained, reliable and professional care team, who are qualified and equipped to deliver high-quality, regulated care which meets your individual needs.