Buddies in the Spotlight

Each month we pay a visit to one of our trained Buddies to find out how the My Future Care Buddy Service is helping them make a difference in the lives of the people they support.

This month we spoke to Linda Edwards from Selsey Community Forum (SCF) – a partnership of local voluntary organisations which, in cooperation with the statutory and commercial sectors, seeks to identify and meet local needs. Over the past ten years, the Forum has been involved in starting and sustaining over one hundred new activities and organisations.

We asked Linda to tell us more.

What kind of support does Selsey Community Forum provide?
We support our community in many ways. Our Dementia Action Alliance of local organisations meets monthly and promotes Selsey as a Dementia Friendly town. We also offer Dementia Friends training to all our the businesses in Selsey. We provide weekly “Together Time” activities for carers and loved ones who have dementia and these are sponsored by local businesses. We organise a monthly Film Club and lunch to stimulate happy memories, and our partners at the four churches in Selsey take turns hosting “RESBITE” Sunday Teas with activities including singing and quizzes.

How will the My Future Care Buddy Service help you to better meet people’s needs? 
The training delivered by My Future Care has enabled our small group of Buddies to understand how they can tailor their support for people on an individual basis – whether they live on their own or with a partner, whether they are carer for a loved one or not and whether or not they have dementia.

For example, I visited one of our groups for carers and met a gentleman whose wife had dementia and was finding it difficult to come to terms with the disease. He and his wife had always had a very close relationship but she was not good with strangers.

The gentleman wanted to ensure everything was in place for his wife to be cared for in case anything happened to him. He already had a few things completed like their Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney but he was interested in the ReSPECT document and some other items he hadn’t thought about. 

I arranged for him to meet me at The Selsey Care Shop where he collected My Future Care Handbooks for himself and his wife. I followed up through several phone calls on Wednesdays – when his wife went to their daughter’s. The husband worked on the Handbooks and saved his queries for our phone calls. He finished both of their books in about 2 months and also completed the ReSPECT document with help from one of our trained members of staff. 

He is a changed man and it seems the cares and worries have been lifted from his shoulders and he can devote all his time to enjoying life and the activities he and his wife do together. 

Would you recommend training as a My Future Care Buddy?
We would recommend the training and support we receive from My Future Care. The support and advice is invaluable when helping different types of people arrange their later life for themselves or their loved ones. 

Everyone is different – some people may need a variety of support to complete the steps in the My Future Care Handbook. Others just need a guide to help them start and complete their plan – with a minimum amount of contact. 

Live-in Care: How to Find a Safe, Skilled, Kind and Reliable Live-in Carer

Thanks to Julia Arnold of Home Care Companions for explaining the different options available, and what to look out for, when finding a live-in carer.

Live-in care is carried out by carers who move into their client’s home and sleep overnight, either long-term or on a rotational basis. They usually work 12–14 hour days with a two hour break during the day.

Carers can be recruited through a care agency, through a care introduction agency or independently through word of mouth or advertising.

Care agencies are regulated by the CQC but clients have limited, if any, control over who will be allocated to them or how experienced or skilled they may be.

Employing a private, freelance or independent carer is an increasingly popular alternative option for those who want more control over who is looking after them.

The benefits are that private carers tend to be more experienced and are often more skilled and capable of running a home and looking after a client without needing supervision by a manager.

Although this is an attractive option, and usually much less expensive than going through a care agency, it is important to ensure enough checks have been done and the right structures, processes and contracts have been put in place.

A good introduction agency will find the very best private carers, check them thoroughly and skilfully match them with their clients, depending on their personality, strengths and suitability for each client. They will then negotiate a fee that both parties are happy with, and provide contracts, structures and processes that will ensure a professional engagement that is likely to be long-lasting, happy and successful.

A good introduction agency should work diligently to ensure they only introduce carers with proven skills, experiences and background checks. Clients should be provided with carers’ full credentials, training certificates, CV, DBS certificate (police check) and references and should interview them either face to face or on video link before making their choice of carer.

If the relationship doesn’t work out, for any reason, or the carer is unwell or has to go away, a good introduction agency will introduce equally professional replacement, cover and peace of mind.

The benefits are that you can have a suitably matched carer who is more skilled, experienced, kind and capable, usually for much less money than a care agency. Once happily matched, a client can keep their carer without the worry of them being ‘moved on’ by the agency and strong bonds can form between client and carer.

Introduction agencies are not regulated by the CQC and there is a risk that some services don’t check their carers properly or match them with suitable clients. This of course applies to care agencies as well; CQC registration does not guarantee a quality service.

The key to peace of mind is to know what questions to ask and to ask lots of questions.

Anyone looking to hire a private, freelance or independent carer can get free advice from Home Care Companions on 01403 711 639 or via their website: https://www.homecarecompanions.co.uk   Home Care Companions is a leading introduction agency that covers England Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you find your own private carer and want advice on putting thorough checks and processes in place to protect your loved ones, Home Care Companions offers a 10-point background checking service.