For professionals who need to refer service users to find care, it’s often a minefield to navigate your way through sourcing care in an efficient way. Referrals can take weeks or even months to process, which leaves the vulnerable adult in need of care waiting around until suitable care can be found. This can put pressure on family or friends who don’t have the skills to provide quality care, or on health services who must stay involved until the patient can be moved into the social care sector.
Finding care calls for different approaches, which does not help to keep things simple. If you’re not a specialist in the social care field, then it can be tricky to know which type of care solution is best. Sometimes what’s best is to keep a vulnerable adult at home but bring in a professional to support them in different areas of their lives. Home help can suit you if you need:
- personal care, such as help with getting washed and dressed
- housekeeping or domestic work, such as vacuuming, cleaning and doing laundry
- help with cooking or preparing meals or “meals on wheels”
- nursing and healthcare
On the other hand though, it may be impossible for an elderly person to stay in their own homes due to an illness or disability. But how then do you decide on which care home? In order to make an informed decision, it can be tough to weigh up the pros and cons of alternative settings for your service user or loved one. It seems like everywhere you turn, there are more choices but no easy way of finding an answer!
If you’re looking for residential care, then Age UK recommends going through the following steps when looking at choosing a care home:
- Make sure the home provides the level of care you need or could need in the future.
- Check if the home currently has any vacancies. If it doesn’t, find out how long the waiting list is.
- Read the home’s brochure or website before your visit, and call or email the home to speak to the staff or manager.
- Read the most recent inspection report for the home. You can ask the home for it, or look for it on the CQC website.
What happens though, if your case is time-sensitive and you simply don’t think you have the time to do the research into the different options? Do you settle for a ‘knee-jerk’ decision for the first offer you find? Not every offering is the same and as people are intrinsically different, not everyone will respond to the same offer positively. The best way to approach finding care is to have multiple choices where you can pick based on preference rather than desperation or time. Whether you’re looking for the right care home for an elderly relative or a social worker trying to find at-home care for an adult you’re working with; you shouldn’t be tied down by limited choices. Given the number of people actually working in social care who are dedicated to supported vulnerable adults, it seems an illogical situation that the process to actually connect them with people who need care appears so complicated.
Luckily for the social care sector, and all social workers who have to go through complex referrals, a new company has emerged with an innovation that could make picking the right care solution a whole lot simpler. Care Sourcer, a tech start-up from Edinburgh, have developed a care-matching service which does all the leg work for you. You tell them your client’s specific needs and they search all available providers and get back to you in 24 hours with prices and details of available providers. And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s entirely free. There’s a slight cost to care providers if theirs is the offer that is selected, but for all service users it’s free.
One Stop Social like to keep an eye out for creative ideas that we feel will support our social work community, and from what it looks like Care Sourcer is just one of them. They are offering social workers a free way to compare thousands of care providers with barely any of the effort. From where we’re standing, it’ll make the lives of adult social workers a whole lot easier.