TIP 1 – Always Check That The Services Offered Are Suitable To Your Needs?
Different care companies offer various types of services. The services they offer should all be listed on the services section on their website. If your loved one has a specific condition or requirement, you may want to look for a company who specialises in this, so that they can support you better than another.
Check if the care company supports campaigns and charities that they feel will help with their aims in making their community a better place for the people they look after.
NB. Willowstone is owned and ran by Samantha Houdmont, a nurse with nearly two decades experience. Samantha has the knowledge and skills in: palliative care, dementia care, medication assistance, rehabilitation, long term health conditions, hospital discharge, physical disabilities and many more. This means she can train her staff to fully support someone who has these specific needs.
Samantha’s first hand experience in nursing also means that she can identify emotional needs as well as medical needs. She understands that companionship is extremely important to someone who needs support, so she makes quality time chatting over a cup of tea with clients just as much of a priority as the medical care.
Willowstone support John’s Campaign (https://www.willowstonecare.co.uk/person-centred-home-care-what-does-it-mean) as well as all staff being Dementia Friends (www.dementiafriends.org.uk). This also means that we have skills that are tailored to individuals’ needs and making sure that they remain in the place that they wish to be for as long as possible.
TIP 2 – Always Check The Duration Of Calls Offered Are Suitable For Your Relative?
Always check the care providers duration of visits to your loved one as some home care companies are rushed and have short brief stays with your relative which may be not what they need for their full support. Hence always check the options on length of stay at your relative’s house as well as duties performed within that time slot.
NB. Willowstone offer a minimum of one hour calls to clients, unless otherwise requested. This is to ensure that our clients receive a high standard of care, have everything they need and aren’t rushed, as well as making sure that they have proper support and companionship during visits.
TIP 3 – Check That The Company Employ High Quality And Well Trained Staff?
Having well trained carers who work to high standards is vital. It is crucially important that you ask what qualifications and experience your home carer has and if these are sufficient for your relative’s needs. All too often, the qualifications or the experience may not be best placed to suit your relative’s needs.
It is also crucially important that you check they have been DBS checked – Police checked and that they are on the Update Service; an online subscription service that lets you keep your standard and enhanced DBS certificates up-to-date.
NB. Willowstone employ in house carers (not through agencies or external staff) who undertake extensive reference checks and DBS (police checks) that are on the update service. We also put new staff on shadow shifts, and provide them with in depth training to ensure that their knowledge and skills are up to date and relevant to the care provided and that they are always working at a high standard.
TIP 4 – Check The Management Stay Involved With The Care And Offer Support?
Home care provision can become very dysfunctional when the management lose control and distance themselves from the carers actually doing the home visits. it is very important to check the involvement of the management with the day-to-day running of the home care services. If there is little communication between management and the carers, the level of service deteriorates and this is worst thing that can happen for your relative and their needs.
NB. Willowstone believe that it is important for managers to stay involved with care, so that they have the knowledge of what is happening with each client, and can offer support where needed. All the senior team take part in regular care visits to support carers, and maintain rapport with clients and their families.
The owner and Clinical director, Samantha Houdmont (a qualified nurse), writes each and every care plan for every client. This means that no stone goes unturned and a professional level of care is provided for and she has a handle on every visit that takes place to your relative.
She also performs all the free, no obligation assessment of needs, before any care is put into place, so that she can assess your relative’s requirements and put together a bespoke care package specifically suited to you.
TIP 5 – Always Check That The Company Has Good References And Reviews?
It is crucially important to check for feedback from other clients and their family members when looking for the right home care provider. You can look online at reviews of companies through their website, directories, and social media. Home Care Companies should be ready and able to give you references from previous clients so that you are able to read in the client’s words what they feel that their chosen home care company provides that makes them suitable.
NB. Willowstone are more than happy to provide written references for your peace of mind.
BONUS TIP – Check That The Homecare Given To Your Relative Is Accountable
Too often home visits are made and the details of the visit and the condition of the patient are not monitored very well or communicated to other family members. This results in lack of peace of mind as other family members may be unaware of details of the visit such as was your relative washed, fed and how long were they cared for and in what health were they in? Hence, always ensure you find what communication is given to you for each visit so if you are unable to be there most of the time, you can have peace of mind that your relative is being looked after thoroughly. Are notes left or is there a central system where this information is logged for you to access?
NB. At Willowstone, all client’s family members and friends involved in their care use a live care plan app on their phone, which we provide for free.
This details all the information on every visit; time visited, duration and tasks undertaken and the health and happiness of your relative are all logged and all these details give you peace of mind that they are being looked after properly. It is updated live and comes with full notes and pictures.