Home care providers and commissioners should ensure services support the aspirations, goals and priorities of each person using services, rather than providing “one size fits all” services.
Support should focus on what people who use services can or would like to do to maintain their independence, not only on what they cannot do.
Everyone working with people using home care services and their carers should treat them with empathy, courtesy, respect and in a dignified way by:
• agreeing mutual expectations
• always respecting confidentiality and privacy providing a reliable service that people and their carers can trust
• regularly seeking feedback (both positive and negative) about the quality and suitability of care from people using the service, including those who do not have a carer or advocate.
The draft guidance also stresses the importance of prioritising continuity of care so that care works become familiar to the person using the service.
Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, said: “We live in an increasingly ageing population. As more of us live longer, effective and high quality home care services will become more important than ever.
“Without adequate support at home, older people can suffer from social isolation, malnutrition, neglect or may even end up in hospital, perhaps from a fall or other accident.
“Our guideline aims to support home care commissioners, managers and care workers carers to provide a high quality and consistent service to give older people the support they need to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.”
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, said: “People who receive care at home have every right to expect services that are safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led. The draft guidance from NICE gives clear signals about how this can be achieved.
“I welcome the clarity about the length of time for visits. If people have to choose between a bath or breakfast in the morning because staff do not have enough time, that is certainly not safe, caring, effective or responsive and no well-led organisation would allow it to happen.”
Anna Bradley, Chair of Healthwatch England, said: “The quality of home care services vary massively across the country, and care users are uncertain about the level of care they are entitled to and do not know how to complain when standards slip.
“National guidance from NICE could set a benchmark to help establish what we can all expect and provide local Healthwatch with a tool to challenge and advise providers and commissioners to deliver the compassionate and individualised care we all need.”