Finding out what good home care looks like can help you to make choices about your care. It can also help you understand what you should be able to expect from a service you already use.
When we inspect home-care agencies, there are five questions we ask.
You can expect a good home-care agency to keep you safe because…
You feel safe and protected by staff, but you also have as much freedom as possible to do the things you want to do – regardless of your disability or other needs.
Staff protect your dignity and human rights and respect you as an individual.
There are enough staff to make sure you receive a reliable service that is not rushed. Staff have the right mix of skills to make sure you are kept safe.
If the person caring for you needs to change at short notice, you are told so that you know who to expect.
You are protected from being bullied, harassed, harmed or abused. Abuse includes neglect and financial abuse.
Staff deal with incidents and accidents quickly and openly (and investigate them if necessary) and they learn from mistakes.
Staff give you your medicine safely and store it correctly. Where possible, the agency involves you in reviewing your medicines and supports you to be as independent as possible.
Any equipment that the agency uses is well maintained. You should feel confident that your belongings are safe and secure.
You can expect a good home-care agency to be effective because…
You are introduced to any staff who are going to provide your care.
The staff are chosen because they can provide you with the right care, based on their knowledge, qualifications and skills.
You are always asked to give your consent (permission) to care, treatment and support in a way you can understand. If appropriate, your friends and family are also involved in decisions about your care.
Staff take steps at the right time to make sure you stay in good health.
Staff know about your health needs and personal preferences. They regularly involve you in decisions about your care and treatment and give you as much choice and control as possible.
Staff make sure you get the right food and drink you need, and that you have enough of it.
You are regularly asked for your views about the service you receive, and your feedback is consistently good.
You can expect a good home-care agency to be caring because…
Staff know about your background, likes, hopes and needs. This includes any needs you have because of your age, disability, sex (gender), gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexuality (whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual).
You are encouraged to express your views, no matter how complex your needs are.
You have access to advocates (people who can speak on your behalf).
Staff treat you with dignity and respect. They have time to develop trusting relationships with you and are concerned for your wellbeing.
You can expect a good home-care agency to be responsive to your needs because…
Your care, treatment and support are set out in a written plan that describes what staff need to do to make sure you receive personalised care.
You, and your family and friends where appropriate, are actively involved in developing this plan and it reflects your personal choices. For example, you should be able to have a choice about who provides you with personal care, such as help with washing and dressing.
As your needs and preferences change, your plan is changed, and all those who need to know, like other services, are kept up to date.
The plan includes information about the whole of your life, including your goals, your abilities and how you want to manage your health. You may also have a health action plan.
If you need to visit hospital or use another service, staff plan this with you to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
If you have any concerns or complaints, staff always take them seriously, investigate them thoroughly and respond to them in good time.
You can expect a good home-care agency to be well-led because…
Staff know what is expected of them and are happy in their work.
Staff are supported by their managers, and can easily meet other staff members to share views and information.
Staff have the confidence to report any concerns they have about the care that colleagues, carers and other professionals give. When this happens they are supported and their concerns are thoroughly investigated.
Staff and managers work effectively with others who may be involved in caring for you, such as your local council.
Managers know what their responsibilities are and are always honest, including when things go wrong.