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The importance of care continuity: How to match carers and clients
March 25, 2021
James Bowdler, Prime Carers
Why ensuring care continuity is important for the wellbeing of people and how you can choose a carer to suit a client.
The importance of care continuity: How to match carers and clients
As health care professionals, we strive to achieve the very best health and wellbeing outcomes for our clients. However, when they are discharged from the hospital, with their information pack of pamphlets, medicines, exercises and phone numbers to book things in the future and return home for the rest of their recovery, they often find themselves overwhelmed.
They lack the support they need to complete their recovery successfully. As a result, they end back in the hospital simply due to the lack of care continuity.
Despite their best efforts, hospital staff cannot know what demands and difficulties they have to manage at home. Their home may not be a relaxing space, especially for the elderly where there may be external family pressures or pets relying on them, there may be some work or financial worries, and there may not be the tools they need to move freely through their home. Home no longer offers them the right environment in which to recover safely.
The client does not always fully understand every bit of information they were given. They often lack the capacity to do every rehabilitation exercise, take their medication on time, or plan and prepare a supporting diet (maybe a new diet altogether). They struggle to navigate the many appointments they will need to arrange, prepare for and get to. Their discharge plan is often simply too difficult to master, so things are missed.
This is where care continuity SHINES. When carers meet the client and family ahead of discharge and can prepare the space for the client’s return, the carer can help them achieve the activities of daily living that they would otherwise struggle with. This covers everything from personal care to assisting the client with exercises, medication and meals. They can help with booking and preparing for appointments. They build a rapport with the client and their families and get to know what works for them personally, allowing them to take their current situation and fit it into the lives they lead. For many chronic or deteriorating disease processes, this could be a long-term professional relationship. The built trust can make all the difference to the client’s health and wellness outcomes over many weeks, months or years.
Good care continuity is the reason our clients recover and lead as comfortable and as happy a life as they can.
How to find the right carer:
For our clients, finding the right carer can feel like an incredibly daunting task. There are many considerations to make in order to find the right carer to fit the client and their needs. Before they or we as healthcare professionals even start looking for a carer, we need to do a few things first:
1. Identify the most pressing needs
What level of assistance does the client need?
Does the client need a carer who has the medical knowledge to work with medicine administration, special equipment or surgical intervention/wound management?
Does the client need assistance with bathing or toileting?
Do they need help to eat or just to prepare meals, shop and administrate, drive them to appointments, or even simply need company and someone to check-in?
Many requirements may fit around these, and the client may even need support with all of these things.
2. Clarify the carers ideal personal attributes
Personal care, however, is, as the name suggests, a very personal choice and experience. It can be daunting or even frightening for the client to adjust to having someone in their home and assisting them in their most vulnerable and personal moments, so there are other considerations when meeting and interviewing carers. To experience so much close contact with someone, it is essential to ensure that you or your loved one can build a rapport.
Do they need someone that can speak the same languages?
Should they share the same core cultural, religious and other values?
What emotional needs need to be understood? What sort of person do they need to feel comfortable and confident with to express themselves if their needs fluctuate or change.
What kind of person will make them feel at ease and safe?
3. Understand other specific requirements
Acknowledge that there may be other, more specific requirements and make a note of what is needed.
For some, security could be an issue, so you need to ensure that the carer is happy with the measures.
For some, it could be pets.
For others, it is specific allergies.
Once you know what is most essential and a degree of flexibility (as long as respect and understanding are held between you both), you can start to reach out to find carers to interview.
Where to find carers?
When it comes to finding care, there are three options:
Agencies tend to offer the simplest and easiest model to engage with. Agencies help the client understand what they need, as described above, and help set up a care plan, something so many of our clients lack the knowledge or time to do themselves. Agencies then find the very best carer, from their rotas of available carers, for the job, matching the client to a suitable carer for them in a bespoke manner.
Private care offers clients that know what they need and have the time to find and manage carers the opportunity to choose who they work with and how that work is done, directly. Clients interview and meet carers and select the carers they want to work with who want to work with them. When they find the right person, they can know the person or people who will become a part of their home, recovery and inner circle and gain a level of consistency whilst paying less. However, they take on many administrative duties and can often find themselves without support if the relationship fails.
Private Care Platforms, like PrimeCarers, offer a third way. They pre-vet the carers and help clients to match with them, handing the admin for the client and providing ongoing support. This works especially well if the client, or their family, has a reasonably good understanding of what they need. They offer a more accessible and sustainable way to work with Private Carers, mitigating the downsides whilst extenuating the upsides.
Having quality continued care and support managed within client’s homes when it is needed will almost certainly help to ensure peace of mind and the very best outcomes.