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Your spotlight on local services

What should you expect from home care services...


According to a report last year, the number of people - especially elderly individuals - being helped and supported to live independently at home is increasing.

With so many organisations offering home care services, it can be difficult to decide which one to use and what you should expect.

The NHS offers several guides to help people with support needs, and their carers, make decisions.

Five things to expect from a good home care service

The National Institute for Clinical Evidence has recently published a guide for older people who arrange their own home care. The guide includes things you should expect from a good home care service.

You should expect to:

1. Have care workers who are able to meet your needs

Care workers should have the right skills needed to support you, for example if you have dementia or are deaf or blind. They should also respect your cultural and religious values and make sure that your needs are met.

2. Feel comfortable with your care workers

You should expect to see the same care workers regularly, so they can get to know you and be familiar with your needs including how you like to communicate and your likes and dislikes.

3. Be made aware of changes in advance

If for any reason, your regular care worker is unable to visit you, you should be told in advance that a different care worker is coming.

4. Be given a care diary that’s regularly updated

Home care workers and others who help you at home such as physiotherapists or community nurses should update your care diary each time they visit.

5. Be given a home care plan that meets your needs

You could be given a plan that describes the care the agency will be providing that is focused on what is important to you and includes any specific health problems or disabilities you may have.

To make sure that the plan is meeting your needs you should have a review within the first six weeks of your first care visit. After that, the plan should be reviewed at least once a year.


View the full guide 

Need more help to decide the care support that is right for you?

NHS Choices offers further help on deciding the care that is right for you, the different types of care that are available, as well as advice about funding your care and your rights.

View the full guide 

Tell us if services are meeting your expectations

Because people in Bexley were prepared to share their experiences of receiving home care, their local Healthwatch was able to tell those who commission and run local services what needed to improve.

For example people told their local Healthwatch that they valued friendliness, empathy, humour, experience and dedication in their care worker. However, some people found a lack of consistency, poor attitudes and language barriers challenging.

There is a local Healthwatch in every area of England, if you have an experience of a home care service you would like to share, why not get in touch with your local Healthwatch.

Find your local Healthwatch


Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham
Lifeline House
25 Neville Road
Dagenham, Essex RM8 3QS