The Guardian recently ran a story based on analysis of ratings and comments on the Good Care Guide website. Based on the 4000 most recent reviews, 31% of the responses rated domiciliary care services for older people as poor or bad.
A bit of balance first of all. Good Care Guide users may not be completely representative and we know that people who have a bad or an exceptionally good experience are much more likely to leave reviews than people who are just satisfied. You can read the article here.
But, it has to be acknowledged that across the sector there are issues that need to be addressed. And these issues will be increasingly public as we see more use of on-line reviews and ratings.
The question in my mind is not the one most people will have. For me it’s this: If it’s possible for nearly 70% of home care agencies to deliver care that is good or better, and which care users and their families believe offers value for money, why can’t everyone?
Clearly delivering good care is possible, even with tight finances.
Why people are unhappy
When you look at the reasons why people were unhappy with the quality of care we are in familiar territory; lack of continuity, late calls, insufficiently experienced staff and little opportunity to provide feedback.
Running domiciliary care services is not easy; we know that. But we also know it’s possible to run a service in a way that minimises the factors that make people dissatisfied.
- Managing staff rosters to maximise the continuity of care can be time consuming and exasperating – but it doesn’t have to be.
- Arranging travel routes that make late calls a rare exception can be tough if all you have is the AA Route Planner and an Excel spreadsheet – but it needn’t be done like that.
- Planning your resources to ensure that appropriately qualified care workers attend each visit is possible.
- And providing a simple on-line system for families and carers to leave feedback and record concerns is something you can do – today.
You just need the right tools.
There are several domiciliary care management systems available (including ours) and all of them attempt to address these tasks. For what it’s worth, we are really proud of how well CareForIt handles all of those issues.
Finding the system that’s most appropriate for your needs is the key to delivering better care more efficiently. Realistically, nobody is going to be putting significant additional funding into the care system any time soon and demands are increasing. It’s a case of doing more with what you have.
And here’s another benefit that our customers have reported. When care workers feel they are working for a well-run organisation, where they have minimal instances of care users or their families being unhappy about late appointments, they are much less likely to leave. Reduced staff turnover could be the biggest benefit you get from having the right systems.
Also, businesses that invest in CareForIt domiciliary care software recover their investment through more efficient working. I often wonder whether the agencies that don’t crack the issue of providing good quality care more efficiently are the ones that won’t have a long-term future.
We are driven by the belief that old people and other care users deserve the best care that it’s possible to provide. And we also believe that modern and efficient management systems are essential to make this a reality.
Web-based domiciliary care management software