General FAQs for Home Care

What are the things you need to take into account before your package of care begins?

Will the same carer visit every day?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked, and rightly so. Person-centred care means having the care service you want and if that means wanting the same care assistant coming every time then that is what all care companies should aim to do.

Of course there is differing levels of care that people require. Some may need a visit every day for personal care and some once a month for social outings or appointments to the hospital. Others require a cleaning call once a week or just checking on to see of medications has been taken.

However, some people may have four visits a day with two care staff members each time seven days a week.  With the best will in the world, this is where supply of care staff does not meet customer expectations.

For most home care companies nationally, approximately 80% of care assistants employed are part time workers. Further, the care staff usually fit work around their children’s school and the relevant pick up/drop off times. Hence it is virtually impossible to guarantee the same person day in – day out.

Any company who can guarantee the same person for every visit, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year is making an unrealistic promise as nobody can be expected to work all day every day. Companies have to account for the staff member’s daily availability – for example a care assistant may work 5 days week from 7am to 2pm.

This means if a customer requires two visits a day seven days a week, one for 8am and the other in the evening at 8pm, the carer for the morning visits will be different to the carer who comes for the evening visit. The other two days of the week it can be two different people.

This is in addition to care staff having time off for holidays; being ill themselves; having children off school for illness or weekends and holidays …and many other reasons why you cannot get the same carer all day, every day.

However, most companies should try and limit the amount of care staff that visit each customer, particularly if they have a few visits a week and up to one a day. A realistic amount would be about four carers with two of them being the most regular.

This allows care staff to build a rapport with customers and get to known their individual needs. This could be when they wake up to what clothes they wear to how they like their tea or coffee. Although this should all be clearly written in the care plan, regular carers will not need to read through it every time unless there are regular changes.

To summarise, we employ human beings to carry out a service, to help people. In an ideal world the same person every visit would be the requirement, however due to the daily demands of people’s lives, such an expectation is wholly unrealistic.

A conversation should be had with the care provider before the package of care commences to agree the maximum amount of people that are in the mix. Although this cannot be set in stone, it will be a good starting point for negotiation at reviews.

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