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   How to Look for At-Home Professional Care 

Q1. Is The Service Flexible?

If you are buying care then you should be able to request whatever you require whether that is 20 visits a week or just one a week.

The problem for most care providers is that many people want getting up in the morning, putting to bed in the evening and helping with lunches and evening meals. This means that there is a heavier demand for carers at those peak times, so if you are wanting very specific times then you may not get this from the first care provider that you meet.

Short calls are not popular with carers because of the need to travel to the home of the client, if the call is only for 15 minutes carers feel there is not time to get to know the client.

The main point is make sure that the agency you deal with will make best endeavours to meet your exact requirements and, if the requirements change, that it is possible to change the service delivered.

Q2. Is The Service Provider Easily Contactable?

In this day and age of mobile communications there is no reason that your care provider cannot be contactable 24/7 on every day of the year. Ensure that any care provider selected has clear contact numbers and you know where the numbers are, if needed. Ask how the care provider will deal with your enquiries and how long it will take to get answers to any of your questions. Will the service provider contact you when the carer is going to be late or when there is a change of carer?

Q3. Are The Same Care Workers Sent?

Continuity of care worker is important to the client and, also, to the care worker. A service provider would like to supply the same care worker for all calls 7 days a week, this is just not practical. Care workers need to have time off and, like most other people, are more productive and fresh if they have rest days.

Ask your Care Provider how many different staff they expect to send to cover the calls that you require. The more calls that are spread across the day then the more care workers will be required, not everyone wants to work from 7 am to 10 pm on a daily basis and it is not fair to expect care workers to work long 15 hour days on a daily basis.

The care provider will try to provide the same core workers with others covering days off and illnesses.

Q4. How Do You Select Staff?

The quality of the care you receive is directly related to the quality of the care worker. Ask the Care Provider to explain their recruitment process and how they deal with staff when there is problems.

All care workers have to have an enhanced CRB, 2 references and a full explanation of their career history. Any gaps in employment history need to be explained to understand why there was a gap, if there is any doubt then the person should not be employed.

Ask if you can get to meet the care worker before they start working with you and to meet any new care workers that are going to supply the service to you.

Q5. How am I informed of any changes?

As care is delivered 7 days a week and 365 days of the year there is inevitably problems arising from the weather conditions, accidents and illnesses. It is important that any care provider keeps their clients informed of any changes, normally these changes would be communicated by phone.

Before any care is given a full assessment of your requirements would be made face-to-face with you at that meeting you should inform the care provider of how you would like to be informed of any changes.

Q6. How do I complain?

All care providers must have a complaint system that enables a client to raise any concerns or issues that they have.

This complaint system should be transparent and you should know who you have to contact and how. A simple phone call should be enough to register a complaint and there must be a clear policy on how long the care provider will take to deal with the complaint.

All care providers are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), so if a complaint is not dealt with by the care provider then you can raise the complaint with the CQC.

Q7. What if I do not like the care worker I am given?

It your absolute right to ask for the carer that you have to be changed but it must be borne in mind that, depending on where you live, a care provider may not immediately be in a position to supply a replacement.

This is why a care provider likes to have more than one care worker visiting a client so that it is possible to accommodate changes with less disruption.

The process for getting the care worker should be a straightforward phone call to the office or a message passed via the care worker requesting the office to contact the client.

Mike runs a Care Agency called Everycare. Everycare serve people in the Winchester area with a first class care service. Everycare will supply carers to look after your social needs and to help you live a more fulfilled life.