Whether you're looking to start your own domiciliary care business or simply want to go over the basics - this short article will explain what homecare is, what the different types of homecare are, who provides homecare services and why they’re so important for a high-functioning society.
What is homecare?
Homecare (also known as domiciliary care), is when a person receives support from a care professional within the comfort of their own home. Essentially, homecare services allow older adults to continue living independently when it comes to their day-to-day lives, with varying levels of extra support and assistance from homecare services.
There are many different ranges of home care services available, ranging from short occasional visits to care professionals providing 24/7 live-in care. We’ll go into more detail about both of these later in this article.
What are the different types of homecare?
Personal care focuses on providing support with daily personal tasks to clients. Most forms of homecare provision usually involve different elements of personal care. Examples of this may look like a care professional assisting with:
- Washing and dressing
- Reminding the client to take their medications
- Collecting prescriptions
- Preparing meals and drinks
- Support with using bathroom facilities
Personal care may also take the form of short visits checking in on their client's physical and mental well-being. Personal, person-centred care is at the heart of all homecare services. For more information on person-centred care, check out this short article here.
Live-in care means that a care professional will literally live in the home of the client. This is usually only done if the client requires care 24/7; if they have profound mental or physical needs for example. Live-in care has many benefits as it allows clients to stay within the comfort of their homes, and to keep the lifestyle they are used to with added support. For clients who need daily care and companionship (and have the extra space at home and resources to cover this care), this type of homecare can provide additional reassurances for both the client and their loved ones.
1.4 million older people in the UK are often lonely. Loneliness, in particular loneliness among the older population, is a major issue that is now widely recognised in society today as a leading cause of mental and physcial decline. Companionship care helps alleviate this loneliness through just that - companionship care. This can look like days or afternoons out, connecting clients to local community or support groups or simply having a cup of tea and a chat. Clients that receive companionship care are still healthy enough to live independently, and don’t want to move into a care home, but do miss interacting with others. The main service provided here is the care professional providing companionship in order for the clients to stay mentally happy and connected. Companionship care is often an ideal starting point for young adults, especially students, to begin their careers in care.
Respite Home Care
Respite home care provides additional support to any family members who are providing substantial care to a loved one. Care professionals can support these family members weekly or daily, helping them to manage their other commitments or allowing them to simply take a break. Caring for a loved one is a huge responsibility and it can cause stress, frustration and sometimes result in negative outcomes for the informal carer themselves. Being able to take breaks and allow a trained care professional to take over can alleviate stress and give a family member proper time to look after themselves.
For this type of care, specially trained care professionals can help clients with dementia maintain a routine, and help support them to live as independently as possible. They are trained to deal with challenging behaviour and will get to know each person as an individual. This way, they will know what situations they particularly struggle with. For example, the client may get very confused at certain times or in certain places, and the trained care professional will know how best to help them to avoid too much distress. Receiving tailored dementia care at home can help individuals with the condition to live longer, lead more comfortable lives and may even help to delay the onset of the worst symptoms thanks to familiar environments and memories always being close at hand.
Some types of home care require a registered nurse, who can visit the client at home to perform specific tasks that need nursing training. This can range from managing certain types of conditions, dressing wounds or administering medications. Many homecare providers have trained nursing staff on their team, who are able to provide this specialised level of care for their clients.
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Check it out! birdie CEO Max recently visited Michael, who has been receiving care from the brilliant Alina Homecare. Find out what he thinks of homecare (and birdie!) here
Who provides homecare services?
For people who are assessed as having a ‘primary health need’, homecare services can be provided and funded through NHS. These services are then provided by homecare agencies who have partnered with local councils and NHS bodies. Domiciliary care businesses who are looking to win these contracts and council tenders (thereby being the go-to agency to provide support in their local community) may find some useful guidance on how to win council tenders here.
Otherwise, homecare services are provided through private contracts between the clients, their families and the domiciliary care business. It's therefor important for these homecare businesses to maintain a good reputation and effectively marketing themselves online and in the local community. Client referrals, easy-to-use websites and an Outstanding CQC rating are the tools domiciliary care businesses need if they are looking to grow their business and secure successful private clients. For more insights on how to make sure your domiciliary care business stands out, we've compiled a number of useful how-to guides here:
Why are homecare services so important?
Homecare services allow individuals to feel empowered in how they choose to receive their care. Fundamentally, it gives care recipients the choice of whether or not they decide to move into a care home, or stay within their own homes. Currently, the number of people living in specialist retirement housing or in care homes is relatively low; most older people live in their own homes, and the majority want to keep it that way.
This is why it’s so important for older adults to be given the widest range of choices regarding how they want to receive their care. Homecare services are a wonderful option when an individual wants to remain surrounded by home comforts and not undergo the transition of having to move into a care home. What matters most, at the end of the day, is a client’s personal preference.
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