Best Practice Representative

Best Practice Representative | Published February 23 2018

Care Concern Homecare Ltd

Care Concern Homecare Ltd is an independent provider of high quality homecare that has served elderly residents across Ealing, Acton, Chiswick and the west London area for 25 years. Led by founding director Clare Drewell, it provides personalised, dignified care that promotes the independence of older people in their own homes – a value based mission statement that recently saw Care Concern become the first independent homecare company in london to be awarded an overall ‘outstanding’ rating by the Care Quality Commission. 

I set up the company in 1993 following a career as a registered nurse. My experience of hospital and community nursing gave me a solid background to set up a business providing care for older people in their own homes. 

Much has changed in the industry since i started the company, but Care Concern’s commitment to respecting the dignity of its clients by encouraging independence as far as possible has remained central to its service. 

The most effective care is personalised to the needs and preferences of the client. With this in mind, we conduct initial enquiries and home assessments with potential clients free of charge, to ensure that we fully understand their circumstances and have the staff available to set up a care service tailored to their requirements. 

I undertake initial visits myself, which means I am involved in care packages from the offset, carrying out comprehensive risk assessments whilst ensuring that we create a care plan that provides clients with the care that they deserve.

We have on average between 50-60 clients who we provide care to at any one time, the majority of whom are living with dementia. Care packages vary from an hourly visit once a week to continuous 24-hour care. Following my initial home visit, a carefully picked team of care workers are introduced to the client and a care coordinator is assigned to oversee the care package. This can involve personal care, meal support and preparation, help around the home with domestic duties, shopping, accompanying clients to appointments, as well as simply providing the companionship that many older people lack in the latter period of their lives. Our experienced and highly trained care workers support people to be able to stay at home for longer, delaying admittance to a residential care setting until it is absolutely necessary, if at all. 

We are also able to offer more specialist care packages. We work in partnership with the well-established local network of doctors, district nurses and other community services to provide coordinated home support for clients with complex needs. 

Often those with life-limiting illnesses prefer to stay at home rather than being admitted to a hospital or hospice and it is our privilege to enable them to do this. Our palliative care service allows our clients to stay close to friends and family, in familiar surroundings, at the end of their lives. 

When I founded the company in 1993, the amount of regulation in the industry was next to negligible and the quality of care varied widely across providers. The increase in regulation is probably the single greatest change and challenge I have seen in my career. By and large, it has been for the better.

There is no getting away from the fact, however, that the amount of regulation required by the government and the CQC can be overwhelming. With this in mind, i employed a compliance officer to keep us abreast of legislative changes that impact our service and ensure we adhere to them. 

In November 2016, we were awarded an overall “outstanding” rating by the Care Quality Commission. Only two percent of homecare agencies in England have achieved this feat, and we were the first london-based independent company to do so. The CQC described us as “exceptionally caring and well-led” with a strong commitment to client-centred values. In our 25 years of business, we have always endeavoured to go above and beyond the basic requirements of our care packages – to be recognised for this was incredibly rewarding for the whole team. 

Central to our success has undoubtedly been our robust staff selection process and the training and support that we provide. Many of those who work for us are atypical when compared to the wider industry – ranging from retired nurses, teachers and hairdressers, to former academics. They bring a rich variety of life skills, personalities, and experience that we can tap into when choosing care teams. We always aim to place care workers with whom we think clients will have a good rapport. 

The CQC noted that a key factor behind the outstanding rating we received was our proactivity in keeping up to date with relevant best practices in the industry and encouraging and enabling our staff to improve their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis.

One example is our move 12 months ago to fully digitalised care management software. This software allows our care workers to record their care notes on their smartphones. The notes are uploaded to the office as soon as they have completed their care visit, so we can read and respond to them straight away and make instant changes to care plans. 

Families can also keep up to date with the care notes by accessing them remotely on their smartphones at their convenience. It has allowed long-distance family members to feel closer and more up to date with their relative’s day-to-day wellbeing. The last 25 years have been a fantastic journey and I am so proud of all my staff and the service we provide. We employ locally, care locally and will continue to stay local in the years to come.