Questions to ask
If you are thinking about arranging care there are many questions that you might have. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
■ Will you visit me in my own home to discuss what help I need?
Yes – We visit all our clients to talk to them about the service and how we can help.
■ Can I have a relative or friend with me when we discuss what help I need?
Yes – You may want to make a list of questions to ask.
■ What happens if the care I need changes?
We will visit you regularly to make sure that the service is meeting your needs. If things have changed we can look at how to change the service to respond to that.
■ Have all your carers been interviewed and their references checked?
Yes – A member of our management team interviews every applicant. We also have two written references (at least one is from a former employer) on file too.
■ How else are they screened?
We look at applicants training and employment history. We also have a full criminal records check.
■ What training will my carer have had?
All our carers have had a induction to our organization which includes face to face sessions to learn about our policy and procedure and “shadowing” where the new carer works alongside a more experienced carer. We will also complete training courses like moving and positioning, safeguarding and food hygiene in the first few weeks that a carer starts working for us.
■ Have all staff who provide care had police checks?
Yes – all our staff have had Disclosure and Barring Service check (this used to be called a CRB check). This checks for any criminal history and checks to make sure an applicant is not barred from working with vulnerable people.
■ How do you supervise the work your carers do?
We have regular contact with each of our carers: this can be in a meeting in our office, a telephone discussion or being observed during a visit with a client. We also take feedback from our clients.
■ How do you check that they are doing what has been agreed?
We check the logs of care provided and speak with the client and family members. We have an electronic system to log carers in and out of visits, so we can see what time they have arrived and how long they have stayed. Carers also keep a record in the client’s home of each visit.
■ What help can you provide in an emergency?
Call us. We will support and advise in each situation. This might include extra visits on a short term basis, or helping someone contact a GP or family member. When our office is closed there is always a duty manager available to deal with emergencies.
■ Who do I contact in an emergency?
Contact the office. Out of hours you can contact our duty manager. The number is always given on the answerphone message and it is our “Client Record Folder” in every client’s home.
■ Who will have details about me and my care?
Only those people who need to know it: the carers who visit you and our management team. We will brief carers who visit you about your needs before the carer visits. We keep information on a secure IT system which our office staff can access.
■ What personal information do I have to provide?
We will only ask for information that we need to provide the service. We usually keep information like your name and address, your date of birth, how we can enter your home, any significant health problems you have, what kind of support we are giving you, the contact details of family members and contact details of other professionals involved in your care.
■ Who do you share my information with?
We will not share your information with anyone outside our organisation unless we have your permission. In very limited circumstances we may have to share information with the Care Quality Commission because we are required to, or with Adult Services to keep you safe.
■ What records do you keep if carers are handling my money (for example, going shopping for me or collecting my pension)?
The carers use a “Money Handling Form” to record a transaction that the carer makes for you. Please discuss it with us if you need this support: carers may not be able to help with this if it is not part of your agreed care plan.
■ How much will my care cost?
We will tell you about this before we start. The costs of a visit varies depending on how long it is. For some of our clients Adult Services or the NHS pays for care. Adult Services will explain their charging policy to you and any contribution you are asked to make.
■ Do you charge different rates for help at different times (for example, in the evening and at weekends)?
Our visits at the weekend are a little more expensive. Visits we make on bank holidays are also more expensive.
■ Is anything charged as an extra?
Not usually. In some very rare cases may be charged for excess travel costs – if this applies to you, we will tell you about it in advance.
■ Will I get written confirmation of the cost of my care before it starts?
■ Will I be notified in advance about any changes in charges?
Yes – we will give you at least four weeks notice of any changes in our charges.
■ How do I pay you (for example, do you bill me each week)?
We invoice you every two weeks. You can pay by cheque or directly into our bank account. Clients who have their care paid for by Adult Services may be asked to contribute for their care. Adult Services will explain this to you.
■ Do you have public and employer liability insurance?
Yes. You can see a copy of our current insurance certificate here. We are insured for £10M employers and £10M public liability.
■ Do you have insurance covering losses arising from dishonesty?
■ Can I see confirmation in writing of your insurance cover?
Yes – please ask us.
■ What household insurance do I need (in case a worker injures him or herself, or household items get broken)?
Your household insurance policy should cover this. If you are unsure please check with your current provider.
■ Do I have to provide any equipment?
No – although we ask you to help us provide a healthy and safe environment for our carers to work in.
■ What equipment do your carers provide?
Our carers will have gloves and aprons, which is usually all they need to provide care. If you need specialist equipment (like a hoist or a commode), we can help you to find what you need.
■ What can I do if I don’t get on with my carer?
Please discuss it with us. You can contact the office at any time.
■ How do I make a complaint?
You can contact the office or the duty manager. We will also leave a complaint form in your home for your to fill in.
■ What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way my complaint is dealt with?
You can ask us to review your complaint. You also have the right to complain to the Care Quality Commission (see the link in under Useful Information). The CQC is the national regulator and inspects all services like ours.
■ Do you have a formal complaints procedure?
Yes. Information about our procedure is contained in our blue file or you can ask us for a copy.
Changes and cancellations
■ How much notice do I have to give if I need to cancel help?
As much as possible please.
■ Is there a charge if I have to cancel help at short notice?
Yes – if you cancel within 48 hours of the visit due to start we may charge you for it.
■ Will you tell me in advance if my carer cannot come at the usual time?
If we know that a carer will be very early or late, we will try to contact you first.
■ Will you tell me in advance if a different carer will be coming?
No – you will meet a small team of carers who come to visit you. We will occasionally introduce a new carer to your team. If you have particular needs we will ask the new carer to visit with another carer first.
■ Will you tell me in advance if you have to cancel my help at any time?
Yes – we will never cancel a visit without telling you first.
■ What notice do I have to give if I want to cancel services altogether?
As much as possible, but a minimum of 48 hours. If you have to cancel services for two weeks or more, we cannot promise to be able to provide visits at the same time when you restart the service.
■ Can I give my carers presents, for example, at Christmas?
Sometimes. None of our carers expect any gifts, however we understand that our clients may chose to offer a gift from time to time. We will look at each gift on its merits before accepting it.
■ Are your carers allowed to sign wills?
If you have any more questions, the please contact us.