5 questions to ask when looking at quality homecare for your loved one

At Home Instead, we’re proud of the fact that we’re the No 1 provider of quality homecare in the UK, thanks to our relationship-led person-centred approach.

We understand that finding quality homecare for a loved one is a critical decision for many older people and their families in turn. Finding a provider that can be trusted to provide this vital service is understandably a major life decision.

We believe it’s important to know what qualities to look for from a homecare provider and its people and what resources you can refer to, to help you make an informed decision about the company that will essentially become an extended part of your family.

That’s why we’ve put together the 5 questions below to help you choose a quality homecare company that will help your loved one continue living happily, healthily and as independently as possible in the comfort and familiarity of their own home.

1 Do they provide personalised, outcome-based care plans?

You should always look for companies that offer personalised care plans that reflect a person’s unique requirements – rather than a one-size-fits all approach. Personalised care plans are tailored around people’s life patterns, their likes and dislikes. If someone has been an early riser all their life, their care plan should include care calls that reflect their waking patterns and habits, having a breakfast visit at 11am is simply too late in the day for them. Personalised care covers all those important little things too, having a CAREGiver who knows how a person takes their tea or if they like their toast pale or well done  makes a real difference.

Care plans should have tangible outcomes too.  If your loved one has been losing weight, CAREGiver visits that encourage cooking nutritious meals together to help bring back appetite and enjoyment of food will boost their overall wellbeing. Finding ways to prevent elderly loneliness is also important. If a person’s social ties have become broken, a care plan that encourages social activities or that helps to rekindle old friendships would encourage a connection back with life.

You should always ask a company that you’re considering to take you through how they put together their care plans and what is included in them.

2 Will they provide consistent care from the right CAREGivers?

Homecare providers often deliver very intimate and personal services, so it follows that any service should be as personalised and consistent as possible.

Something that Home Instead pride ourselves on is matching our clients and CAREGivers based on common interests and hobbies. Once we’ve done that, we then make sure that our clients see the same CAREGivers to build that all important bond of trust and friendship.

Working in this way means that our clients are able to build meaningful, long-term relationships with the people caring for them. This not only helps ensure they always receive the correct care in the way they prefer, but also allows them to feel more comfortable and at ease receiving that service. That starts from the very beginning with Home Instead, our clients and CAREGivers have an introduction meeting before any care is given so that it doesn’t feel like a stranger is coming to a clients’ home when their visits actually begin.

3 How long do they spend on their visits?

At Home Instead, our visits are typically an hour or more because we believe high quality homecare cannot be delivered in less. It would be impossible for our CAREGivers to complete their tasks and also have the time to truly get to know their clients if their visits were shorter.

That’s why we believe you should always find out how long a company will spend on individual care visits, as it will also indicate a great deal about the ethos that underpins their service. You should also look for a care company that has a real- time monitoring system, so that you have peace of mind that visits are being made on time and are lasting the length that you have agreed.

4 Do they value companionship?

Loneliness is one of the biggest problems facing older people today. Homecare isn’t just about carrying out a list of tasks, it’s also about providing much needed companionship.

We place a high value on the companionship part of our service, and it’s one of the reasons we spend at least an hour with a client. Our CAREGivers have time to make a cup of tea and chat to our clients, because we know that a person’s health isn’t just about meeting their physical needs.

We’re confident that this approach really works, with 96% of our clients recommending usin a recent independent client satisfaction survey.

5 Do they have respected independent endorsements?

The internet is a great way to find homecare companies but how do you know which sources to trust? We believe that you should always look for independent reviews and recommendations for any homecare company, and there are a number of key websites that can help you do this.

A site called homecare.co.uk allows you to search for homecare services near you and includes independent user reviews of the different companies in your area. You may find NHS Choices useful too, which includes a search tool for details of homecare companies.

Across the UK there are 5 regulatory bodies who inspect homecare providers and publish their findings on their websites.   

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for inspecting all homecare providers in England.  All Home Instead offices that have been rated so far have received either a ‘good’ or an ‘outstanding’ rating from the CQC. And we’re incredibly proud of the fact that we’re the only homecare provider to have a trio of offices with an outstanding rating from the CQC.

The regulatory body covering Wales is the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, for Scotland The Care Inspectorate, for Northern IrelandThe Regulation and Quality Improvement Authorityand for the Isle of ManThe Registration and Inspection Unit.



Philip Keohane


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