Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Making the right decision about care needs

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Making the right decision about care needs

The general population is ageing. Most elderly people will be faced with making the burdensome decision of reaching out to care services. Now, this decision will be split into two options: deciding for receiving care at home or moving into a care home.

Dignity in care

As the advance in age, many elderly people need to make the difficult decision of whether they will keep living at home and enlist the services of a private carer or move into a care home. This decision, no matter the seriousness of the situation, must be made with the utmost sympathy and sensitivity. The person that makes the decision to go into care can be either the person needing care, their family or a healthcare professional.

Making the decision to get home care or move into a care home is a very sensitive matter and it should be made with consideration of the elderly person’s preferences and values. For elderly people it’s often very tough coming to terms with the idea that they need help with living their life. No adult likes to admit that they need help or care in their life. Elderly people like to maintain their independence and dignity, so one must be very careful when making care decisions. But research actually shows that hiring a carer at home, before the need is too great, is better than waiting until the situation worsens. Making the decision to get care will ensure that the elderly person will stay at home for longer and will not be forced into a care home later on.

When making the decision to request care it is good to conduct a very thorough research. There are a number of options available. This variety in care services for the elderly makes the decision a lot easier for the elderly person or for their family. There are a number of services available to suit different needs and it allows for the whole process to be carried out with dignity and sensitivity. An elderly person can decide on getting care at home or moving into a care home. But for the majority of elderly people it is always a question on keeping their independence and staying within the familiarity and comfort of their own home.

It is often the most recommended and also sought-after decision, that elderly people stay in their home and have a carer visit and help them with whatever they may need. Elders or their family often decide to first choose at home care. There are a number of factors which come into play here:

  • The personal home will hold lovely memories and having to move out will most likely cause emotional stress
  • The elderly person will feel more independent in their own home because it’s the most familiar place to them
  • Staying at home will provide more independence for the person
  • The elderly person will be able to remain within their own social circle
  • Leaving home to move into a care home will be a very stressful and emotional time

Making the right decision about caring

It’s essential to make the right decision about what caring is needed. Depending on the gravity of the situation, the type of care will differ. Every single person is special and they have different needs. Guardian Carers can offer help when making the often difficult decision of choosing what care is needed. Here are some indicators to help the decision-making process a bit easier:

  • Choosing home care sooner can prevent from early deterioration and needing a higher level of care later on
  • Having home care will offer the family peace of mind that their loved one is in safe hands and no accident can happen to them unsupervised
  • Choosing home care will make the situation more manageable and keep the family members from disrupting their day-to-day life in order to care for their loved one
  • Home carers will be able to prevent crisis situations because they are trained to observe changes in the elderly person’s behaviour or general heath

The type of home care that is available is very varied and is dependent on one’s needs. The elderly person or their family member who is in charge of taking their care decisions must decide whether to go for private care or choose a recruitment company to hand-pick the carers.

Firstly, in the case of private care, it is important to keep in mind that there are both advantages and disadvantages when deciding to hire directly.

Making the decision to hire the carer directly will indeed provide continuity and increased familiarity with the carer. But, if this decision is made, there is certain legislation that applies to the hirer. Here are just some examples:

  • Offering living wage
  • Offering a maximum of 48 hours per week
  • Ensure the carers have DBS check
  • Personally check verbal references
  • Prove fair dismissal in case the employer-carer relationship deteriorates

Secondly, there’s the option of using a company which provides care services. Enlisting the services of a recruiting company such as Guardian Carers will offer help with making the right decision about the care services needed. Deciding on an agency will take off the stress and hassle of finding a carer alone. Guardian Carers will find a carer which best matches the needs and requirements of the elder needing care, as well as find someone who shares their hobbies and interests.

Guardian Carers will provide a list of private carers which are best matched to the needs and interests of the elder. We offer interviewing tips and book the interviews whenever it is convenient. Once a decision has been made on the best carer, we will offer guidance with paperwork and provide sample contracts. More than this, we will also offer a payroll service.

Taking into account these 2 options, it can be easily observed that deciding to go with a company like Guardian Carers is the most beneficial decision. Our average full-time private carers rates go from £12 to £15 per hour, while part-time private carers will make between £13 to £16 per hour, but these rates depend on the complexity of the job.

90% of the families that Guardian Carers work with result in happy, successful, long-term carer placements. Therefore, making the decision to hire a recruitment company such as Guardian Carers will remove the stress of finding a private carer alone and offer home care options tailored for the specific care needs of the elder.

Shared decision-making

When making the decision of choosing private home care, many people may be involved in making this decision, apart from the elder person requiring care. These may be either friends and family or healthcare providers who are involved in their care and can support them in reaching the right decision. Most of the time there are multiple stakeholders who are involved in the care of the elderly, such as healthcare professionals and informal caregivers - these may be different family members or significant others which are entrusted with having a say by the elderly person.

It is necessary that the elderly person requiring the care takes part in the management of their own health and has a say in making a decision. Often times though, the elder cannot make a responsible decision. The inability to make a decision may be due to a number of factors. Most of the time these are linked to ageing and can be unwillingness to participate or cognitive or physical impairment.

Despite this, the elder must be granted control over making the decision of what type of care they want and subsequently, where they want to live. This decision is sure to involve a high level of emotional stress, but it is highly important that the elders make their own decision about where they want to live, be in in a care home, though it is less likely, or remain in their own home.

Shared decision-making comes with certain benefits, such as:

  • Both parts feel free, supported and empowered to make informed choices and reach a mutual decision about care
  • Both parts can understand what is important to each other
  • Home care professionals can tailor the level of care to the needs of the elder

For example, in the case of an elder suffering from dementia, they will still be able to make their own decisions about receiving care at home or moving to a care home. They must make their own decision and be assisted with making the decision, if they need the help. However, often times, elders suffering from dementia have lost the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves and someone else needs to step in and make the decision for them.

If the elder does not have the mental capacity to make the decision, then it would be the person entrusted with power of attorney. This person can be a family member, a friend, a carer or a lawyer, to name just a few examples. When a decision is made on behalf of an elder who does not have the ability to make it themselves, this decision should always be made in their best interests. This means that their rights are respected and the decision reached is the best one for them.

Whoever makes the decision to hire a carer or move an elder into a care home must think of the best interest for the person with dementia. As much as possible, the person suffering from dementia should also be involved in the decision-making process, even if they don’t have the mental capacity to make their own decision. Their feelings and preferences must also be taken into account. Besides the elder, friends and family should also have a say in making a decision. That is because they are the closest people to the elder. They are the ones who know them best and would have talked to them about what they wish for the future.

Guide for people in care

300,000 people in the United Kingdom employ a carer at home. But every person is special and they require different levels of care. Guardian Carers can help in making the best decision about care needs. Guardian Carers provides different levels of care to suit different needs. Some elders may simply be on the search for companions, while some may need a carer to help them perform more complicated tasks. Carers can also be hired part-time, full-time, they can either live-in or live-out. Carers can help with:

  • Meal preparation
  • Help with cleaning the home
  • Doing laundry and ironing
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Booking doctor’s appointments
  • Remind to take medicines
  • Providing personal care such as bathing, dressing or toilet assistance

However, as mentioned before, Guardian Carers also offer companion services. So if any elder is deciding whether or not they need a companion, we can offer the proper consultation in order to reach the right decision. It’s good to know that making the decision to have a companion is a great choice if the family is not able to be around too much, due to busy schedules or distance or whether the elder is recently bereaved, just to name a few reasons. A companion will be matched based on the person’s hobbies and interests. Many times it happens that a companion will form a really strong bond with their employer and eventually become friends. Here are just some of the things that a companion can do:

  • Offer companionship and be a good conversation partner
  • Play games together, such as chess or puzzles
  • Go to appointments together
  • Attend plays or concerts together
  • Prepare some meals
  • Help with light cleaning of the home
  • Change bedsheets
  • Book appointments

The number of elderly people is increasing significantly worldwide. As a result, this ageing of the world population will also significantly increase the number of elderly people who require care. Making a conscious decision is fundamental in finally receiving the right level of care, suited to the elder and their personal needs.

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