‘Outstanding’ Oldham homecare company takes personal approach

A former soldier and Gulf War veteran who set up a service in Oldham and Saddleworth providing care for older people in their own homes has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The rating puts Mick Sheehan’s company in the top one percent of homecare providers across England.

Mick, 45, founded Home Instead Oldham and Saddleworth in 2009, along with wife Jenny, an intensive care sister. The company has now received the highest rating possible from the CQC for the quality of its service in its new ‘Ofsted-style’ rating system.

Saddleworth local Mick set out with the ambition to create a company that gave something back to the local community. He was inspired to go into elderly care after having concerns about the care received at home by Jenny’s grandmother, former local councillor and charity stalwart Beryl Colson.

Father-of-two Mick said: “We felt that the carers who helped support Beryl weren’t given enough time to do their job. They generally didn’t take their coats off and only had time to make microwave meals. Most of all what Beryl would really have benefited from was a brew and good chat.

“I was sure that there must be a better way of delivering care – one that took into account people’s personal preferences and gave them the chance to form relationships with their carers.

“I knew I wanted to do something which would make a real difference to the community I was born and raised in, so our company’s aim from the outset was to provide care that passes the ‘mum test’ - the quality of care you would want yourself or your own loved one to receive.”

Not a care company, a company that cares

The CQC report on Home Instead’s service gave particular praise to the genuine care shown by Home Instead’s caregivers for their clients. In a recent survey 98 percent of clients agreed that their CAREGivers take a real interest in them as a person.

The inspectors stated in their report that: “The service was extremely caring. Feedback from people was unanimously exceptional, with people confirming they were treated with compassion, patience and respect by staff who had built mutually trusting and meaningful relationships with them.”

One client who has felt the benefit of Home Instead’s personalised approach to care is 96-year-old Second World War veteran Elijah Debnam.

His caregiver Kathryn Mills, who helps widower Elijah with things like shopping and collecting his pension, spotted a photo in his house from his time as a Royal Engineer in Belgium during the war. Elijah couldn’t remember the name of the building in the photo and so Kathryn turned sleuth and hunted down the details for him in her spare time. She was able to print off a photo of the building along with its name to take to Elijah on one of her visits.

Elijah was delighted with the photo and said: “I love Kathryn coming round so we can reminisce. We went back 72 years the other day to 1944 when I arrived on the beaches of France.”

Mick Sheehan said: “We’re not a care company, we’re a company that cares. Our visits are always at least an hour which means caregivers like Kathryn have the time to truly get to know their clients and form meaningful relationships with them. We’re thrilled to receive an outstanding rating from the CQC – it’s a real testament to the dedication of our caregivers and management team and the companionship and quality of life they give to clients on a daily basis.”

Debbie Westhead, CQC Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care in the North, said: “The care being provided by this domiciliary care agency was of a very high standard. We found people received outstanding personalised care and support, telling us they were involved in all decisions about their care and the service had developed creative means of enabling people to lead as full a life as possible.”

A group of Home Instead CAREGivers talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home