New NICE Guidance on home care

NICE has released guidance on providing person-centred care for elderly people living at home. This is the first time NICE has issued guidance to the social care sector as it has traditionally focused on NHS services. The guidance was published in consideration of reports that the numbers of elderly people choosing to live at home in their old age looks set to increase dramatically over the coming years.

The guidance provides recommendations on how to plan and deliver care in the home which is individualised to the needs of the person being cared for. It is particularly aware of the cost demands that are placed on those that provide care in the home and the guidelines should not require additional funding to put in place. At the heart of the guidance is a greater understanding of the specifics of care needed for each individual that has care in the home rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach to home care. This reflects the emphasis on person-centred care being promoted by CQC and reflected through Regulation 9 of the new regulated activities regulations that came into force earlier this year.

The guidance has been endorsed by the CQC which commends the guidance on its focus on delivery of high quality care in a domiciliary setting. These guidelines provide a useful tool for home care providers on how to deliver outstanding care within the home. The guidelines are interactive and cover the full spectrum of home care from planning through to delivery and review of home care arrangements.

One of the more poignant recommendations from the guidelines is in relation to the time spent with those being cared for. The guidelines recommend that commissioners ensure that home care workers be given enough time to do their job without being rushed or compromising the dignity of the service user and states that there should be no visits of less than 30 minutes, except in the narrowest of circumstances.

Further recommendations include providers ensuring people know their carers, using the same ones as much as possible and service users being told in advance if their carer is going to be late or miss a visit, with plans put in place for those at risk.

Domiciliary care providers in both the private and public sectors would do well to consider the guidelines and adopt their recommendations to ensure the best outcomes for the clients they serve; particularly in light of the fact that CQC uses NICE guidelines as part of its evidence to inform the inspection process.

Alaistair Burt, Minister for Community and Social Care, who commissioned the guidelines said of them: – “Most of us envisage spending our old age in our own home and we want to provide the great care that can make that a reality. We asked NICE to develop this guideline so that everyone involved in providing home care has clear standards that we will expect them to follow. This will not only provide reassurance for countless families who rely on this care but for the thousands of workers who want the time and support to be able to give people the care they deserve.”Commenting on the new guidelines, Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director for health and social care at NICE said “The need for support at home is something that is likely to affect many of us. As we age, most of us will want to continue living in our own homes, surrounded by a lifetime of memories, for as long as we can. Helping a person remain as independent as possible is an important component to maintaining their wellbeing. Without good support, older people can suffer from social isolation, malnutrition or neglect. They may also be at risk of injuring themselves, perhaps from a fall or other accident, if they do not receive adequate help and could end up in hospital.”

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