Quality vs Cost of Care: A Personal Plea

Dawn Phillips Read 1352 times

Something that struck me after a phone conversation to a new client’s family member, and which professionally and personally concerns me is the cost to family members when price too often wins over quality of care. As a long serving carer and business owner with many years’ experience in adult social care I wanted to share a very personal and controversial perspective on our care industry’s focus on price and not quality. The cost of homecare services, in an ideal world, would all be free!!...let’s make no qualms about it. I would love to live in a world where this was possible, but unfortunately, I don’t and it isn't. With the population ever growing and living longer this will only ever be an idealistic dream.

Call for Help from Potential Client

Anyone working in my industry at some point will have come across this situation. We were arranging for a new client to begin using our services, some are straight forward and some more complex, and others come from using other home care agencies that they have now become dissatisfied with - this happens to be one of those unfortunate occasions.

Arrangements have been made, you get a call from the client's family member to say the other provider have been informed of the clients wishes to leave their services and notice formally given. Are You Price or Quality Driven?

The family member then informs you that the current underperforming care provider and a Health care professional working with the client to represent their best interests (and who is meant to be impartial) have questioned the clients wishes to change to another service stating it is more expensive than the current underperforming one.

Will You Reduce Your Fees?

And of course, they asked the question that they always ask, 'will you reduce your fees to match the other agency?' This is common practice in the UK social care sector where price is a bargaining tool and the quality of care is of secondary concern. I believe it is unprofessional for the other agency and especially the health care professional, after understanding the clients wish to leave the current service due to receiving a poor service, that they question the client’s decision and then base the entire issue around price, disregarding the quality of service received.

Great Care Provides Reassurance Not Worry

The client's family member told me they had informed both the other provider and the health care professional that the decision to change providers was based on repeated failings to deliver the correct support to their relative, that they weren’t consistent and this had caused confusion, worry and upset. This also extended to the family who wanted the reassurance that their loved one was being cared for in the right way, and they were willing to pay a higher cost to ensure that they received a better service.

Cost of Quality Care vs Price

Hanging up the phone I felt empowered to write this blog because it is important to talk about this subject. The cost of care should not be used as the primary bartering or bidding tool, quality should be the benchmark not the cost.

Care Providers Need to Invest More in Their Carers

Care providers who are delivering low cost care simply do not have the resources to reinvest in ensuring a quality service - there is not enough surplus to ensure that carers are fully trained and supported in what can often be a challenging role, let alone paying them a good rate of pay and offering career progression opportunities. I’m very proud Radfield Home Care has maintained higher hourly costs to ensure a fair price can be paid to carers, which values their service and maintains high standards of care.

Trying to strong arm home care agency’s into reducing fees at the last moment just as care is about to start (we have already spent time and resource in meeting and assessing the client, writing a personalised care plan, ensuring the preferred visit times are on the rota for the carer etc) is by no means uncommon and undermines what care services whose primary focus is on delivering a person-centred, high quality service are trying to achieve.

How to Choose your Care Provider?

I implore everyone requiring care and support at home to thoroughly check out the care provider to make sure that they are focused on quality and not just delivering care at the lowest cost possible. Make sure that you feel a connection when you first make contact and that you feel listened to and that you feel confident that they will take any concerns raised seriously and will act promptly on them. Like anything you buy, you usually get what you pay for, unfortunately this can also be true of care providers.

 Dawn Phillips - Radfield Home Care Bromsgrove & Redditch

Dawn Phillips

Dawn Phillips
Radfield Home Care Bromsgrove & Redditch

Radfield Home Care have consistent reports of the positive effects that our clients experience once they start to receive care. Only a few hours a week can give a lift in confidence and support to maintain independence for longer.

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