Domiciliary Care is a key part of the Social Care Sector
We look at the national standards for domiciliary care, the tasks undertaken by domiciliary carers and why they are such an important part in the delivery of care in the community. It's also a career path open to anyone with a passion for caring, so read on to see if it's the social care career for you. Words by Sarah Gill.
16th November 2011
Anyone working in a domiciliary care job works with clients who live in their own homes but have difficulty with every day tasks. A domiciliary carer is there to help promote their independence, enhance their wellbeing and protect their dignity by providing assistance within the control of the client. People of all ages rely on domiciliary care for the assistance necessary to remain in their own homes and lead as full a life as they choose.
It takes a particular type of person to be a domiciliary carer, and attitude is much more important than level of qualifications in the first instance. You need to be genuinely motivated towards helping others and have a desire to provide excellent service for every client you visit. Qualifications and training are essential in order to progress the level of care you give, but it’s important that your personality is suited towards caring for others.
National standards in domiciliary care
Domiciliary care standards were issued under the Care Standards Act 2000, and they covered areas such as personal care, protection and user focussed services. This legislation was updated by the Health and Social Care Act 2008, and on 1st April 2009 the Care Quality Commission(CQC) came into existence. The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care in England and it replaced three previous commissions.
There are 28 regulations contained within the legislation, which cover the provision of domiciliary care and which every provider must operate in accordance with in order to maintain their registration. Every home care and domiciliary care provider must be registered with the CQC in order to offer care at home and domiciliary care services.
The principles of the legislation are as follows:
- To involve the client at every stage
- To meet the care and treatment needs of the client
- To protect the client and offer service in a safe manner
- To provide staff that are adequately trained to carry out the care required
- To regularly monitor the quality of care provided
Any domiciliary and home care agency can be fined or have their registration suspended if they don’t meet any one the requirements.
The essential services of domiciliary care
Domiciliary care is often arranged after a period of acute or primary care, particularly when an individual is returning home after being discharged from hospital. It’s common for an occupational therapist to be involved in the process of helping someone return home after a hospital stay, and for putting in place systems and tools that help that person on a day to day basis. While this can include physical alterations to the home, including mobility aids and hoists, it may also include a domiciliary care plan.
It’s not just people coming home from hospital that require domiciliary care, individuals with a physical disability, learning difficulty or mental health concern can also benefit from domiciliary care. The agency providing the domiciliary care will work with the client as well as the NHS trust, occupational therapist and family / relatives to design a care package that each party is happy with. Involving the client and their family is a significant part of the process, and CQC standards specifically state that no decision must be made about the client without their involvement.
Domiciliary care can be arranged to provide as little or as much care as an individual requires in order to maintain their independence, dignity and quality of life. Domiciliary carers provide all types of services that a client would need in order to stay in their own home. This can include personal care such as washing and dressing, domestic tasks such as laundry and light cleaning, as well as running errands such as getting shopping or medications.
Domiciliary carers work in shifts, each with a list of clients to visit during that shift. The list may extend to 5 or 6 clients if they only require a short visit each or as few as 2 if more in depth care is required. Wherever possible the clients scheduled for one particular carer will be located in roughly the same geographical area to minimise traveling time.
Could you be a domiciliary carer?
Working as a domiciliary care is an incredibly rewarding career, but one that can be hard work and require a great deal from you both physically and emotionally. Nevertheless if you are a hard worker and passionate about caring for you others you will get great satisfaction from the work.
Even if you’ve not had any formal training in health and social care, you can still become a domiciliary carer. You will undergo an introductory training period before you start work in the job, so don’t feel you will be left out of your depth and unable to cope. There are plenty of professional development courses you can undertake along the way such as medication handling, manual handling with aids, and specialist care of those with dementia. You can even progress your career to Domiciliary Manager if you choose by completing one the CQC’s specified qualifications that allow you register as a manager. The most common of these is the QCF Diploma Level 5 in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services. This replaces the old RMA award and NVQ 4 in Health and Social Care.
Follow this link to view all current Domiciliary Care Jobs