If you are looking for a home care option for yourself or a family member there are several areas of consideration that you are likely to take into account before making a decision.
- The need to have care appropriate to need.
- The wish to have that care provided by people you like, trust and with whom you can build a friendly, working relationship with.
- The need to be able to afford the cost of the care from a choice of several providers
The objective is that you can purchase a suitable care package, one that feels good, safe and is reliable.
This seems simple enough. With over 7000 home care providers you might imagine your wishes could easily be achieved.
However what we can expect from a care service is increasingly being designed by legislation.
Ask people and their families who they would like to have care for them and what emphasis they put on a person having a plethora of ‘general’ certificates as opposed to years of actual caring experience.i.e. they have actually had personal/professional partnerships with those needing care.
The answer is likely to be the latter. However, in the UK, certification is the order of the day as laid down by the legislated inspection system. Comments from those being cared for carry very little weight if the paperwork is not in evidence.
Recently I obtained a certificate: Level 2 Award in Food Safety in Catering. I obtained this in 45 minutes online, answered 30 questions either from my head or by using my iPad next to my laptop and one hour later downloaded my impressive certificate. Cost £10.00
I could have put in any name, I could have asked another person to ‘sit the exam’ for me, the certificate is worthless. However, such certificates are being issued daily and used as a recognised measure of caring competence. Even a Manual Handling Certificate can be obtained online.
As a result we have many care workers who cannot care and care providers have to reject sensible, caring, mature people who most of us would like to have looking after ourselves or one of our family members.
Of course there is a need for training, especially where there are complex needs, but the vast majority of people requiring supportive care do not have complex needs and do not require care workers trained to the legislation rather than a person or their family’s perception of what is required.
Care workers are transient. In the case of home care, they follow the work. One provider loses a council contract, they join the new provider. New induction training, refresher training, continuing, additional training requirements, all increase the cost of care. With the new pension requirements, the new living wage rates, the cost of an hour’s care will further increase.
Most care providers are in the independent care sector, commercial organisations. In almost every other area of commercial business, organisations survive on whether they provide what their customers want at a price they are prepared to pay. There is therefore an argument that the responsibility for ensuring that a relative is well cared for is a family responsibility and that the responsibility of the State is to protect and ensure good care for individuals who are unable to protect themselves from bad care.
With the removal of the ‘care cap’ from having a place in society for the next five years the responsibility of purchasing the majority of care will fall on families and individuals. A difficult path to walk.