Here at Be Independent Home Care we heartily welcome recent reports that home care support services are next to be regulated. As a fully Nurse owned and Managed home care provider, we have deep concerns about the industry being unregulated and we strongly urge the government to act on these new recommendations to regulate the sector.

Minister of State for Older People Kathleen Lynch has said that while it isn’t possible to say when this would happen she has promised that home support services would be the “next obvious area” to be regulated. Ombudsman and Information Commissioner Emily O’Reilly has agreed saying that a regulatory system must be established for the home help sector to protect vulnerable people who are being dealt with outside of institutionalised settings. These comments have come after the publication by The Irish Times of details of 80 complaints received by the HSE in relation to home help and homecare services last year.

In line with the Law Reform Commission (LRC)  recommendations of 2012 at Be Independent Home Care we  believe the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) should be given additional regulatory and inspection powers to ensure that appropriate legal standards are in place in the home care sector. Under the Health Act 2007, HIQA is the regulatory and standard-setting body for the residential nursing home setting. This Act should be extended to broaden HIQA’s powers over the provision of professional care in the home.

In the absence of regulation in the home care industry Be Independent Home Care have developed its own comprehensive in house quality management system. This system includes a full set of Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P’s) that outline established procedures that must be strictly adhered to by each carer when delivering home care services. Both owners at Be Independent Home Care are registered general nurses with An Bord Altranais (The Irish Nurses Board) and have over 20 years experience in the provision of top quality healthcare and social care services. Quality of care is at the core of all service provision and in addition to being nurses the directors at Be Independent Home Care hold post graduate qualifications in Health and Safety and Social Care.

Be Independent Home Care understand that trust is vital when allowing a carer into our clients home and so selection, Garda vetting and close supervision of our care team is at the core of what we do. We have a rigorous recruitment policy which ensures that each care candidate undergoes a thorough security vetting process. This includes a detailed interview by a suitably trained member of the senior management team, reference and background checks and a Garda Clearance. Every member of our care team must have a minimum of Fetac Level 5 in Practical Home Care Skills (or equivalent) and once recruited each carer undergoes internal induction training. Our own in house induction programme provides instruction on the contents of our Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P’s) and includes other relevant subjects such as health & safety, manual handling etc.

The client and the client’s family are always provided with the opportunity to meet the assigned carer before the care programme commences. Following commencement of the care relationship our care team work strictly to both the client care plan and our quality policies and procedure. Our experienced managers closely supervise each carer and client contract and constantly review our clients’ needs and adjust their care plan accordingly. In addition to regular quality assurance questionnaires and phone calls to the client or nominated contact person our care managers make regular supervisory visits. We also operate a 24 hour oncall service. We have full employers, public liability and professional indemnity insurance cover.