Social care sector must be aware of new NICE guidelines

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Paula Barnes
Paula Barnes

A law firm has welcomed new guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which aim to promote high-quality home care services for older people.

Moore Blatch community care partner, Paula Barnes comments: “At a time when demand for home care services is growing – the new guidelines are essential in maintaining standards for vulnerable people. As a firm we are often asked to help clients where, unfortunately, care has fallen short, with many people complaining of inconsistent or inappropriate care. We believe that this guidance is a positive and necessary first step towards achieving better home care services across the board.”

People who wish to continue living in their own homes will often request home care. During 2013-2014, 80 per cent of those using home care services were at least 65 years old, with most people entitled to home care, funded through their local authority.

With people continuing to live longer the demand for home care is predicted to rise over coming years.

Paula continues: “We frequently advise and represent clients that want to remain in their own homes and live independently, for as long as they can. For these people it is incredibly important that these guidelines ensure they have the care they need to assist them to do this. The importance of good home care can often be undervalued, but these latest guidelines will help local authorities, home care services and families to recognise exactly what best practice is.”

The guidelines emphasise that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not the best way to achieve good home care and like other recent care solutions emphasises that a ‘person-centred’ approach should be followed.

Paula comments: “People’s needs vary considerably, those willing to provide home care services that are tailored to an individual’s needs are likely to achieve the best outcomes. The importance of trained staff that have the necessary time to provide good support is emphasised in the guidelines.”

Paula details below the NICE guidelines for home care:

  • Ensure services support the aspirations, goals and priorities of each person, and that they and their carers are treated with empathy, courtesy and respect.
  • Make sure support focuses on what people can or would like to do, not just what they can’t do.
  • Prioritise continuity of care by ensuring the person has the same home care worker or workers so that they can become familiar and build a relationship. As well as recommendation to those that provide home care services directly, the NICE guidelines also make recommendations to local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups. They recommend support is delivered through a coordinated team for integrated working and good communication.
  • Other issues addressed in the guidelines include how to manage and address late or missed home visits, delivering telecare and putting a safeguarding process in place to help home care workers report signs of abuse or neglect.
  • When considering home care, those elderly with moderate to low needs should be considered for eligibility – emphasising that home care in these instances could help maintain long term care.
  • Paula continues: “There are some significant developments; with the guidelines highlighting that workers need on-going training and support. A minimum time frame on home visits of at least half an hour will also ensure that home care workers have time to do their work properly. ”

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