Around 60% of people receiving homecare support services in England have some form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society which recently found that 85% of people would prefer to stay at home for as long as they could if diagnosed with dementia.
Responding to the position that homecare support might be only suitable for people in the early stages of the disease, Home Instead managing director Martin Jones says: ‘Absolutely not - even as the disease progresses care can still be offered at home as long as it is safe and practical for the person, and homecare can be as little or as much as is needed by the person.’
Familiar surroundings and a home environment may have psychological benefits for elderly people with dementia, however, the practicalities of providing such care in the home is not without challenges.
The issue lies in the difficulty of ‘predicting when supervision or care will arise for people with dementia, whereas the care needs of other client groups can to a greater extent be predicted and services schedules at particular times of the day’, LaingBuisson’s Care for Older People - twenty-seventh edition notes.
Homecare workers may be able to provide elderly clients with one-to-one care, but a residential care home - in theory - has multiple staff to help if an elderly person’s behaviour becomes unmanageable, or if the person becomes unwell. But there are a growing number of agencies – Home Instead, SweetTree and Christie Care to name but a few – which make a point of offering these levels of service.
Exploring homecare options also opens up the possibility of providing families with greater control over the total cost of care for a relative giving greater flexibility when it comes to selecting and adjusting the level of care required and the length of time services may be needed.
While residential care home funding support is often out of reach to families whose property assets exceed the funding eligibility threshold, the value of a person’s property is not included in evaluations for homecare funding, and so an elderly person may be eligible for financial support if his assets unrelated to their property meet the funding support criteria.
The Alzheimer’s Society is calling for the minimum training standards for dementia, framed through the Care Certificate, to be raised in alignment with Tier 2 of the Dementia Core Skills Education and Training Framework, introduced in 2015 by the then Department of Health to give more detailed guidance for the care of people with dementia.
Home Instead says its carers complete an accredited training programme with dementia specialists and are taught beyond the basic requirements of care to understanding the ‘unmet needs’ of the individual, and live-in carers at Christie Care have dementia training included in a two-week intensive course and follow up tests.
First published in LaingBuisson’s Care Markets March 2018.