Guinness Care News Article - 20 February 2019

5 things to consider when choosing a home care provider

As your loved ones grow older and become less independent – whether through injury, illness, or age – you may be thinking about how best to support them in their later years. A home care service is one option that may provide the support, reassurance and guidance needed for everyone involved, and can help your loved one to continue living as healthily, happily and independently as possible, in the comfort of their own home.

We’ve put together five steps that can guide your decision when choosing a home care provider, such as the services they provide, at what times, and their values.

1 What’s needed

The first thing to do is to sit down with your loved one and talk about any areas where they may need a helping hand, as this can indicate the type of services you’ll be asking of your new provider. Consider things like:

  • Personal care, such as washing, dressing, or help with meals and medication
  • Housekeeping, such as vacuuming, ironing and cleaning
  • Errands, such as shopping, bills, or help with household repairs
  • Companionship, whether at home or out and about
  • Support to maintain an active social life in the local community
  • Dementia support or care services for complex needs

2 Timings

By choosing a flexible care provider, you and your loved one will be able to determine what time of day (and for how long) your care services will be provided. For example, at Guinness Care, we offer:

  • Morning, afternoon and/or evening visits – at times to suit you
  • Sessions ranging from 30 minute calls to full day care services
  • Ad hoc respite breaks and sit-in services
  • 7 days a week, 365 days a year service
  • Long or short term care packages

3 Making it personal

A good home care provider will tailor the care plan around your loved one and their wants and needs, and match them with carers who best share the same interests. When meeting with a prospective provider, consider whether they’ve asked about:

  • The name your loved one likes to be known by (full name, first name, or any nicknames?)
  • Their religion or cultural beliefs
  • Any likes or dislikes (such as food, television, film or music)
  • Phobias and/or allergies (particularly around food or medication)
  • Signs that may show when they are becoming unwell or need more support
  • The important people, places and routines in your loved one’s life
  • Interests and leisure activities (like shopping, gardening, museums, pets, sports or other hobbies)
  • Any other services or agencies they already use (for example, nurses, local clinics or support groups)

4 The right values

One of the most important things when choosing a home care provider is making sure they have the right values and standards for their customers and care teams. By taking the time to ask questions and chat to prospective home care providers, you’ll know if they share your core values, and whether they’ll place your loved one at the centre of their service so that they can live their life the way they choose.

At Guinness Care we believe that care is a service as well as a response to a need, and that a person’s wellbeing isn’t just about physical needs. We don’t take on calls less than 30 minutes, as we want to make sure our carers have enough time to deliver a safe, effective service, and with time for a friendly chat.

Look for recommendations

When creating your shortlist of potential providers, don’t forget to ask for recommendations. You may know people in your community who have personal experiences to share. Ask local doctors, nurses and social workers. Reach out to local organisations, faith groups, clubs and societies, and peruse local newspapers.

Don’t forget - all care providers should be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and can be verified by visiting the CQC website.

Ultimately your home care provider will become part of your family’s life, so it is important to know what qualities to look for. The five steps above will help you make an informed decision, but if you’d like any further support or guidance, or to learn more about Guinness Care’s services, please contact us or read our FAQs.