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Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Member Blog: Finding the right care - Have you planned for the future?

By Phil Eckersley – Founder and Director of Bridgewater Home Care
Elderly care is something that affects us all at some point in our lives. How many of us can say that we have taken active steps to plan for the future of our loved ones, or even ourselves?

Getting older and the challenges that are presented to us can be difficult to come to terms with when we are talking about our own mum and dad. Sadly, there are all too many cases where families do not properly prepare for the later lives of their loved ones.

One of the most common and heart-breaking situations to deal with in social care is when a family member is diagnosed with Dementia and the family have not taken steps to initiate a Power of Attorney (POA) for the financial and health and wellbeing affairs of the person diagnosed. This is something that can be organised quite simply and saves much anguish.

Without a POA the family are unable to make choices on behalf of the person diagnosed with Dementia and these choices often fall into the hands of the local authority who do not know the individual personally and are unable to know of their best interests as the family do. So, if you take just one thing from this blog today, consider your legal position around your loved ones and POA.

When it comes to looking for high quality and reliable care in the home for a loved one it can feel like walking into a minefield.  There are far too many stories, I have my own personal ones, where care has failed.  Simple things such as turning up on time, having a carer who knows the person they are caring for and good communication from the office team can seem hard to find.

In many situations, it is the basics of care and support that can enable a person to live at home for longer and continue to live in close proximity to their support network of family and friends, rather than having to sell their home and live in an institutionalised setting.  Domiciliary care (or home care) offers a service that enables a person with a wide range of conditions to remain in the comfort of their own home without ever needing to move into a care home.

The difficulties people face in the home care market is finding trusted, reliable and responsive care. Often these difficulties can be due to the family not understanding what to expect, or accept, from the performance of a home care provider.

Bridgewater Home Care has produced a help sheet for families, which goes through the key questions that should be asked to a potential home care provider to enable you to form a well-rounded and informed decision on which provider would be best for you and your loved one.

The key questions to ask when seeking care for a loved one would be:

Do they send the same carer to each visit?
Do they introduce the carer to the client (person receiving the care) before care takes place?
Do they guarantee to arrive at the requested time and spend the full length of time with the client?
How many references do they take for each carer? This should be at least one professional reference and one personal reference.
Can they prove that their carers have had a DBS check (Criminal Records check) and a SOVA check (Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults)?
Do they have an on-call service 24/7, 365 days a year for emergencies?
Are they registered with the CQC (Care Quality Commission)?

All these key questions should be replied with a ‘Yes’.  This will mean that the fundamentals of a home care service will be being delivered.

Essentially, home care is about communication and relationships. It is important that you spend the time to find a care company which you can trust.  Time spent planning for a time when care may be needed will help mitigate the risk of a poor experience in the future. You should be able to have consultations with each home care company you are interested in, free of charge, this will enable you to get a good ‘feel’ for the organisation as a whole before you make that all important decision.

Bridgewater Home Care provides domiciliary care to vulnerable adults in their own homes, specialising in the care and support of those living with a form of Dementia.
For more information, please call Bridgewater Home Care on 01942 215 888 or email

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