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Dom care: The perils of 'alternative' introductions

Blog post 21 June  2017

There’s an ‘old guard’ out there in the care sector which often speaks of the Halcion days before regulation.

Doubtless some of those people made an awful lot of money, but we are now in more enlightened times when wealth and playing by the rules have to be bed partners.

Recently I read a story in The Independent about two brothers who are championing a new way to lock into domiciliary care.

Adam Pike and his brother Daniel were still young when their grandmother was diagnosed with dementia.

She wanted to stay at home, but she was in a different area to where the Pike family lived.

The Pikes didn’t have enough money to hire private carers and relied on a council social care package.

Eventually, a care home had to be chosen after grandma flooded the home twice.

Today there are two million people elderly people in the UK who require care, but generally it comes at a price.

The Pike brothers’ answer was their SuperCarers initiative, an online platform that provides an alternative to private home care and local authority services by linking carers and families and letting the two parties arrange the terms of care.

At this point the alarm bells stated to ring.

Yes, technology is reducing the overheads here; yes, it cuts out the middleman; and yes, as it does not manage or direct care operations dodges independent regulator the Care Quality Commission.

Agencies have higher overheads because they manage carers on behalf of families, acting as an employer.

And they also have a legal responsibility to deliver standards within the CQC framework. Training, DBS checks, and professional management all have to be addressed in an agency business.

Whilst I applaud the creative thinking of the Pike brother, I can’t help feeling this the thin end of the wedge that the ‘old guard’ would wish to drive harder into the care industry.

Halcion days? Maybe they were with some care providers having a moral conscious and delivering excellent, dignified care.

History tells us, however, that some had little care for standards. It’s a fact of life we need regulation in the industry and West Midlands Care Association works tirelessly with the CQC to help educate its members what the commission requires.

A proceed with caution, therefore, must apply to anyone seeking the SuperCarers option.