February 13, 2024

How to mitigate risks in homecare

Table of contents

Homecare is a vital service, providing support and assistance to vulnerable individuals within the comfort of their own homes is absolutely essential. For owners and registered managers of domiciliary care businesses in the UK, ensuring the safety, quality, and compliance of care services is paramount, and not always easy.

This article will delve into five critical areas of risk in homecare and provide actionable strategies to mitigate them. By embracing digital tools and solutions, care professionals can not only enhance the quality of care but also safeguard their business from potential pitfalls.

Ensuring Competent Care Professionals

The risk: Inadequate competency amongst your care team is one of the most pressing concerns in domiciliary care.

When care professionals lack proper training, care recipients may receive substandard care, jeopardising their well-being. Additionally, regulatory violations can result from untrained staff, leading to financial penalties and reputational damage.

For instance, consider a scenario where a care professional fails to administer medication correctly due to insufficient training. Such errors can have severe consequences for the care recipient's health and result in compliance issues with regulatory authorities.

How to mitigate this risk:

  1. Invest in comprehensive team training programmes. Utilise digital platforms for e-learning and certification tracking, such as Florence or Blue Stream Academy.
  2. Regular competency assessments should be conducted to ensure staff competence.
  3. Explore cost-effective e-learning platforms like Skills for Care to kickstart your staff training programme and ensure your care professionals are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Read more - eMAR training for carers: your questions answered

Safe Medication Administration

The risk: Errors in managing medications can have dire consequences, including harm to care recipients and severe regulatory penalties. Consider a situation where a care professional dispenses the wrong medication due to a manual record-keeping error. Such errors can lead to hospitalisation or even fatal outcomes for care recipients, and they can also result in severe consequences for your business.

How to mitigate this risk: Embrace Electronic Medication Administration Records (eMAR) systems with open arms.

Digital tools streamline medication management, reducing the likelihood of human errors. You can implement “double-check” procedures for high-risk medications to add an extra layer of safety. Investigate eMAR solutions such as Birdie (a mobile and desktop software platform for managing care delivery, rostering, reporting and invoicing).

Article continues below this video

eMAR is difficult to get right. Harrison from Caring Forever discusses how Birdie has helped with his:

Protecting Patient Information

The risk: Data security and privacy are paramount in domiciliary care, with data breaches posing significant risks.

A breach can lead to legal consequences, damage your business's reputation, and erode trust with care recipients. Imagine a scenario where sensitive patient information is accessed or stolen due to weak data protection measures. Such incidents not only violate privacy but also result in regulatory penalties and a loss of credibility.

How to mitigate this risk: Safeguard patient information by implementing secure electronic health record (EHR) systems. Train your staff on data protection protocols and conduct regular audits to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities. By embracing encryption and cybersecurity best practices, you can ensure compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines. GDPR mandates robust data protection measures for healthcare organisations (ICO, 2020). Review GDPR compliance guidelines for healthcare and begin implementing necessary changes to protect patient data effectively.

Read more - Prioritising your security: how Birdie protects your data and our platform

Personalised Care Plans

The risk: Inadequate or inaccurate care plans pose a significant risk in homecare. These plans are the foundation of care, guiding care professionals in delivering tailored services. However, if care plans are incomplete or inaccurate, they can result in suboptimal care and dissatisfaction among care recipients.

For example, if a situation arises whereby a care recipient's preferences and needs are not adequately documented in the care plan. This oversight may lead to missed opportunities to provide personalised care, negatively impacting the care recipient's experience.

How to mitigate this risk: Utilise digital care planning tools to create, update, and track personalised care plans. These tools streamline the process and ensure that care plans accurately reflect care recipients' needs and preferences. Regularly review and revise care plans based on the evolving needs of care recipients. Person-centred care is essential for delivering quality homecare services (Skills for Care, 2021).

Here we have provided a list of the best care management platforms in the business.

Staying Compliant with Regulations

The risk: Non-compliance with regulations is a significant risk for domiciliary care businesses. Failure to adhere to regulatory requirements can result in severe consequences, including financial penalties and suspension of your care business's operations. Regulatory compliance is an ongoing challenge due to evolving standards and expectations.

How to mitigate this risk: Stay informed about regulatory changes by subscribing to updates from relevant authorities like the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Join care associations to access valuable resources and guidance on staying compliant. Conduct regular internal audits to ensure that your care business adheres to regulatory requirements. The CQC regularly publishes updates and guidance for care providers (CQC, 2022). Take your first step towards staying compliant by subscribing to CQC newsletters and engaging with care associations to stay informed about regulatory changes.

Join the team from Birdie for this fun, friendly webinar touching on all things CQC in 2023. Learn the basics of what to prioritise at inspections, get insider tips from CQC experts and understand what top leaders do to hit the Outstanding rating:

To summarise, mitigating risks in homecare for domiciliary care businesses in the UK is essential for ensuring the well-being of care recipients, and your care team, as well as the success of your business.

By addressing competency, medication management, data security, care planning, and regulatory compliance through digital solutions, you can enhance the quality of care while safeguarding your business from potential pitfalls. Embrace these actionable strategies today, to secure a brighter future for your homecare business tomorrow.

Interested in seeing how Birdie works in the real world?  Click the button below to hear from our partner Prioritising People's Lives on ‘Reducing risk and making audits easy: A case study on Prioritising People's Lives’

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