Over the past year, we have been working with Lambeth Council on a project looking into how home care can be improved. The aim was to use design approaches to find ways for home care to be more joined up with other services and to empower people to feel more in control of their life. The project ideas have been fed into the council’s plans to make home care more localised. The project was part of the Local Government Association (LGA) Design in Social Care programme.
Home care is a service for people who need support with personal care and household tasks. In Lambeth, around 2,000 people receive home care funded by the council. Most home care users are over 65 but the service is also provided to disabled adults and children.
Home care has traditionally been commissioned (bought) by councils and delivered on a “time and task” model, prioritising a set list of jobs for the carer to do and the time they take, instead of focusing on meeting the needs of individual people. Now, in line with other parts of the country, Lambeth has been moving towards a “strengths based approach” to social care. This means putting people more in control of their own care, focusing on their personal goals and aspirations.
In order to achieve this, the project team wanted to explore ways of improving people’s experience of home care so the service can be more flexible, co-ordinated with other support and enable people to feel more in control.
The project involved:
For each step, the project team attended workshops run by the LGA and a specialist design company with several other councils across the country doing similar projects. We also held a workshop with local home care providers to hear their own ideas.
We identified four key findings from our interviews with home care users:
“When I had my independence I wouldn’t have had strangers in, but this woman is like family, she is not like home care” – Home care user
Our interviewees wanted clear expectations all round about the service at the outset. People also felt that the home care workforce needs to be valued and have opportunities to develop the right skills for the job.
The feedback is now being used to:
Healthwatch is also following up with more research on people’s experience of home care, to further explore and develop the findings from the initial project and to find out what people think of the council’s plans for the service.
If you use council-funded home care, or look after someone who does, we would love to hear your views. We will be doing interviews until the end of December. To find out more, please contact Kate Damiral, tel: 010 7095 5764, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also get involved in our project by volunteering to help interview people. Find out more by registering your interest via our volunteering sign up sheet!