The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published its first guideline for the social care sector to promote high-quality homecare services for older people.
I personally gave expert testimony to the panel that developed the guideline and I'm pleased to see that the published document mirrors so much of what Home Instead already does as part of its day-to-day delivery of quality homecare.
My testimony included the importance of a relationship-led - person-centred approach, where a client's specific needs are placed firmly at the core. At Home Instead, we recognise that every person is different, so I whole-heartedly agree with the guideline that says a ‘one size fits all' service is not the best way to provide good homecare, advocating a person-centred approach where the needs and wishes of the individual are heard and respected.
At Home Instead, we passionately believe that older people should be able to continue to live happily and healthily in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes for as long as they're able. I welcomed the fact that this view was echoed by Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director for health and social care at NICE, who said: "As we age, most of us will want to continue living in our own homes, surrounded by a lifetime of memories, for as long as we can."
It's predicted that the number of people in England aged 65 or older will rise from 1 in 6 to almost 1 in 4 by 2035. These numbers show just how important effective, dignified homecare services will become and the necessity for robust guidance for all involved in the sector.
The new guideline includes a call for homecare workers to be given enough time - not generally less than half an hour with each person - to do their job properly. At Home Instead, we have always understood that time is critical to the delivery of quality homecare and that's why Home Instead visits last a minimum of one hour. Our model of quality homecare and the companionship that sits at the heart of it cannot be delivered in less.
At Home Instead, we take the time to understand the person, not just their practical needs. That's why our CAREGivers are matched to clients based on common interests, backgrounds and hobbies. How else could relationship-led care start than finding out about a person's likes and loathes and having something in common to start off with?
We know that our bespoke model of homecare works and that our clients and CAREGivers want to tell other people about the way we do things. Independent research carried out in June this year showed that 97% of clients said their CAREGiver takes an interest in them as a person, 96% rate the quality of the service as good or excellent and 96% are likely to recommend Home Instead.
In turn 96% of CAREGivers surveyed said they were proud to work for Home Instead, 97% would recommend our service to a friend and 93% said they felt they are given enough time to deliver desired levels of care to clients. I couldn't be personally more proud of these strong statistics but what better endorsement for our bespoke homecare model than word of mouth recommendation for our clients and our CAREGivers?
Commenting on the NICE guideline, the Minister for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt, reflects the truth of the homecare landscape well: "Most of us envisage spending our old age in our own home and we want to provide the great care that can make that a reality."
The NICE guideline recommends that homecare providers:
- Ensure services support the aspirations, goals and priorities of each person, and that they and their carers are treated with empathy, courtesy and respect.
- Make sure support focuses on what people can or would like to do, not just what they can't do.
- Prioritise continuity of care by ensuring the person has the same homecare worker or workers so that they can become familiar and build a relationship.
This is very much like looking in a mirror, this best practice in the NICE guideline is already reflected in our model.
At Home Instead, we are committed to providing homecare that passes the ‘mum test', the standard of care we would all want to see for our own relatives and indeed ourselves. I believe the announcement of today's NICE guideline will help make a difference to homecare provision for our country's aging population and I am pleased to have contributed to its creation through my expert testimony as a champion for dignified homecare in the UK.
Chief Executive Home Instead