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I manage a team of four Care Coordinators working across the UK who support our long term service users. We are routinely involved in setting up home care support either with or without the involvement of the local social services department. All too often we find that care agencies will send in a multitude of different carers to the person, at unpredictable times and very often with the worker having no idea of what they are expected to do on that visit. This is not to denigrate the good efforts we do see from some individual care workers, and we know that demands on them are high and can be unpredictable, but even allowing for this our experience has generally not been good. With the Home Instead branches we have started to use we have a completely different story. The first thing that sets them apart from the other agencies is that their minimum duration for a call is one hour. On the face of it this might seem a little extreme but this is because Home Instead attaches great importance to the caring relationship. For them it is not a case of dashing in for a quarter of an hour to prompt someone to take their medication. It is about taking time to get to know the person, consider what other tasks might need to be done and always thinking about ways to improve that person’s quality of life and independence. We also notice that with Home Instead there is a real effort by the managers to keep the number of different carers for a person to a minimum – again, so that each carer really gets to know the person they are supporting and what kind of things to stay alert to when they visit. They understand that relationship is everything. None of this is a question of “icing on the cake”. In the last year two years where we have used Home Instead, we have seen the lives of our service users transformed. We are also finding that with this quality support, our service users are being enabled to remain at home much longer than would otherwise be the case. Home Instead are now our first agency of choice and we look forward to seeing more branches being set up around the UK. - Mr. P