Care in your own home

For many people it is important to stay in their own, familiar surroundings near to friends and family. At the same time, retaining your independence may also be very important to you but that can also mean you need a little extra help. Some carefully chosen home care (sometimes known as ‘domiciliary care’) can often be the perfect solution to getting a little help whilst retaining a good level of personal freedom.

Why choose home care?

Reasons for choosing home care can vary. Sometimes after a stay in hospital, someone might find they need some help whilst they recuperate. Others can find that a long-term condition or disability means they can no longer cope and they need a little bit of help.

How you access that home care can also vary. After a stay in hospital someone may carry out an assessment of your situation to see if homecare will benefit you. You and your family will be fully involved in looking at what will suit you best.

Alternatively, you or those close to you might notice changes in your ability to manage the day-to-day things you normally cope with easily, like preparing meals or looking after yourself. If this happens, Adult Services is a good first step towards finding help.

Councils have a duty to carry out a community care assessment for anyone who might need help, which is very useful for all your subsequent decision-making. It will equip you with
information that will be invaluable in finding the right help.

How home care can help you

The level of home care provided can be tailored to meet your needs – from a visit once a day to a much greater amount of help. Home care agencies can help with personal care such as washing and dressing.

You might be surprised to learn that even those with quite significant and debilitating medical conditions can get a level of skilled personal care that can enable them to stay in their own home. Some agencies will provide ‘live-in’care, where a care worker will stay with you at home to support you throughout the day and night.

Living at home with dementia is discussed on page 23 and a comprehensive list of home care
providers in Essex and Southend-on-Sea starts on page 33.

Finding the right support

As Publisher of this Directory, Care Choices’ website: www.carechoices.co.uk allows you to
search by postcode or region for care homes, care homes with nursing, home care, supported living (learning disability only) and housing with care providers that meet your requirements across the country. Your search can then be saved and emailed to others.

Alternatively, this Directory’s free helpline provides an independent information and
help service encompassing care services and accommodation. A personalised report can be
generated for customers providing details of all home care providers that meet their criteria.

One call to the freephone number 0800 389 2077 will enable the service to build a profile of exactly what type of care you’re looking for, while taking into account your personal needs
and interests.

The Care Quality Commission (www.cqc.org.uk) is responsible for checking that any care provided meets essential standards of quality and safety.

There is a professional body, the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), which requires its members to comply with a code of practice. This code includes a commitment to treat customers with dignity and respect and operate at a level above the legal minimum required in legislation.

Social care regulations do not apply to cleaners, handymen or gardeners. However, some home
care agencies are increasingly providing staff who can help meet these needs too.

You might decide that you want to employ a personal assistant to provide your care privately
or have a member of your family who can provide the level of care you need.

However, the benefits of using a regulated agency include:

• assessing your care needs and tailoring a plan to meet those needs

• advertising, interviewing and screening suitability of workers;

• arranging necessary insurance cover;

• providing training and development for care workers;

• managing workers’ pay, including compliance with the National Minimum Wage;

• managing employment relationships, including sickness, absence and disciplinary matters; and

• managing health and safety issues.

Carefully chosen home care, with a good quality provider, is an excellent way to retain your freedom and independence, whilst getting the help you need to stay happy and safe. It can offer the opportunity to stay at home, in your own familiar surroundings, and to retain