Ready for customer-led homecare?
What could the health and social care White Paper have in store for independent homecare agencies? If last March’s social care Green Paper is a guide, care staff will now need to do what publicly funded customers request, rather follow a care plan set by Social Services. And they will undertake, flexibly, a much wider range of tasks – including tasks which address customers’ quality of life, as well as their basic survival. What will this actually mean for agencies? Suggestions come from a research study on homecare for older people which we carried out at York University’s Social Policy Research Unit, funded by the Department of Health. This research examined a style of homecare similar to that proposed by the Green Paper – customer-led and addressing older people’s general well-being and quality of life. It sought to find out how some publicly funded homecare services could take their customers out shopping, give them co mpanionship, change their lightbulbs or help look after their pets – whereas many other