Radfield Homecare

Questions to ask a home care service

At Radfield, we understand that looking for a home care service can be a difficult and confusing process. Unless you have knowledge and experience of how home care works, then your understanding of what questions you need to ask may be vague.

To make it easier for you, we have listed a set of vital questions to ask a potential home care service. You can also see an extensive list, with a checklist to download, on the Which? Site here

Do you visit me at home before care starts?

A home care service should have a care assessment process so that they can create a bespoke care plan for your needs and gather all the vital information they need to offer you a safe service, as we do at Radfield.

Their Care Manager should visit you in your home so that they can understand your living situation and conduct a health and safety risk assessment.

Your home care service should be asking you the following questions whilst creating your care plan:

  • Details of illness or conditions and any medication you require.
  • Do you have any challenges with hearing, sight or communication?
  • Do you have any mobility issues that need specialist help?
  • Any dietary needs or preferences.
  • Religious and cultural beliefs, lifestyle choices and preferences.
  • Who else is involved in support and care, for example, family members and health care professionals.
  • Does anyone hold Power of Attorney for you?

How often can I change (or can I cancel) my care package?

You want full control of the care service that is given to you at all times. Therefore, you should be able to change the care offered to you at any time, without a reason.

It is also vital to ask what terms or process there is to cancel the service and if you can have a trial period to asses if you are happy with the care before you commit to ongoing care.

Will I have the same carer each time and how many carers will I have?

Introducing a new person into your life and home can take time to get used to, and having a constant stream of different people caring for you is unsettling and far from ideal.

To cover the reality that a carer will go on holiday or might be off work due to illness, it is best to have more than one carer on a regular basis. This offers you the chance to get to know your carers and avoid having to unexpectedly deal with a carer you don’t know.

Also ask what the home care service policy is to cover emergency situations, such as if a carer is stuck in traffic or bad weather and can’t get to you. Will the home care service send another carer for your scheduled time?

For other emergency situations, such as if you have an accident, will the carer accompany you to hospital?

Just as important as having consistency, is to ask what happens if you simply can’t get along with your carer or feel uncomfortable with them. It does take several visits to get used to someone new in your home but in rare instances you may want someone else to attend to you and that should be your right.

What are your standards for hiring a carer?

Welcoming someone into your home extends a level of trust, so you need to be reassured that the care service is properly screening their candidates and not just hiring anyone.

Ask your service what process of selection they go through and the minimum requirements they have for hiring. At Radfield, we only hire if we would trust a carer to take care of our own family.

It is also essential to get confirmation that all hired carers have their employer references checked (more than one) and that a DBS police check  is conducted.

Do you supervise and train your carers?

After a new carer has been hired, they should have an induction and trial period under supervision and then undergo comprehensive training.

Ask what ongoing training the carers have access to and how the care service monitors the standards of an individual carer. A good agency will provide ongoing training to their carers, together with the opportunity for development.

Radfield carers are trained rigorously at all levels of practical care but also with an approach of warmth, dignity and respect that encompasses the Radfield family culture.

To ensure that corners are not cut, ask how the service monitors if a carer is completing all the tasks they are supposed to. Do they use time sheets and daily records of care, and do you have access to these?

What are your charges and what extras do I have to pay for?

An area of controversy surrounding home care, that has received much publicity, is the inclusion of a carer’s travel time within your scheduled time. Ensure you ask and clarify that the carer will stay with you for the full time that you are paying for. At Radfield, our carers’ travel time is not taken out of your care visit time.

Apart from standard hourly charges or charge per visit, ask if there are additional charges for weekend visits and bank holidays.

Ask for clarity and a full list of any additional charges you may incur, such as:

  • Mileage for trips
  • Expenses for trips
  • VAT (is this included)
  • National Insurance for the care worker.

Ensure that your home carer is employed, insured and bonded by the service provider. If a carer is self employed or contracted, then you may have personal liability or tax obligations and the agency will not be able to manage the quality of the carers work and enforce improvements if needed.

What regulations and insurance do you have?

Home care agencies have regulations and insurance to offer you more protection and a greater level of service than hiring a self-employed independent carer or an online matching service.

A CQC registered home care agency provides you with a managed service - this means that you have a qualified Care Manager who is approved and registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) overseeing the care that you receive. This is especially important for specialist levels of care such as medication management, handling/moving, catheter care and dementia care.

A managed service will also be responsible for ensuring all of its carers have thorough, up to date training, that their work is regularly monitored and that all staff have regular reviews and supervisions.

It also ensures that client care is reviewed regularly, that there is a person who takes responsibility for any issues that arise and will endeavour to resolve them promptly.

Ensure to ask your home care service if:

  • They are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (England).
  • They employ all of their care workers.

What level of support is provided and insurance cover available if a carer:

  • Has an accident.
  • Makes a mistake.

A reputable home care agency will always be happy to offer references from other clients that can confirm the level and quality of their care service.

At Radfield, we offer a fully transparent and accountable service and as the first UK health care business to receive B Corp certification, we are officially recognised as an ethical supplier that offers value to both its clients and its employees.

Contact us here and we will be happy to answer any of your questions for reassurance. Also, you can find an extensive list of answers on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

You can read what makes Radfield Home Care different here and why our clients highly recommend our service.

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