5 Questions you need answered
1. What Can Our Introductory Agency Do & Not Do?
As an Introductory Agency we are not a provider of care. We help match clients/families with care professionals, who then support the care needs of the person/s based on a mutually agreed care plan and expected care outcomes. They provide care based on a number of hours, days, weeks or if necessary, longer. Then, when they want to take a break, we will work with the family to arrange for a substitute Personal Assistant to step in for whatever time period is necessary.
We don’t have an ongoing role in the care on a day-to-day basis like a Domiciliary Care company registered with the Care Quality Commission would. But, as specialists in Domiciliary Care, the journey we take you through to having support in place is identical.
Together We Make a Difference by supporting the process of what care or companionship would be needed and then working with the families and the prospective Personal Assistants to bring it altogether.
Whilst we do not have direct management of the day-to-day care delivery that doesn’t mean to say we are not here to help you if something changes. We are here to support our customers whenever they need us.
Even though the service we provide has differences, the end result is the same. People and their loved one getting high quality dedicated support from a Personal Assistant in their own home.
We are here to help you or your loved one find your most suitable Personal Assistant, and help source a replacement or substitute professional, as required, on an on-going basis.
We provide payroll services for you and your Personal Assistant.
We provide support services for you and your Personal Assistant/s to assist the provision of your care and care management, such as care plan portals, training provision, a huge policy library and your dedicated Account Care Manager.
We pride ourselves in the service we provide so your Account Care Manager will check-in with you and your family to make sure you are all happy with the service provision.
2. Without Being Regulated, How Do We Ensure That the Care the Personal Assistants Provide Is Safe?
Our status as an Introductory Agency does mean that we sit outside of the remit of the care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). However, as award winning health professionals we pride ourselves in the processes we have in place which match and exceed any regulatory requirements the CQC demand. We ensure all Personal Assistants joining our platform have a full background check, undergo a training which end in exams which they have to pass (unlike most Domiciliary Care companies who just have Personal Assistants attend training days and then provide a certificate of attendance as a marker of competency), we meet them all face-to-face to go through our standards, they provide references, they have to have a full clear Enhanced Criminal Check and provide us a comprehensive profile about themselves. We do everything necessary to ensure that the Personal Assistants can excel in their profession.
We hold all these records and documents securely on the Personal Assistants behalf and ensure that they remain current and valid, training and periodical criminal checks for example. You will be offered a simple agreement, which sets out the basis of the care arrangements you have agreed, including details of your Personal Assistant, the nature of the service to be provided, the fee and any notice period. Not all Introductory Agency’s ensure that all Personal Assistants undergo a formal application and interview process, reference checks, a DBS check at the Enhanced level, full mandatory care training (unless the Personal Assistant can prove with certificates that they have undertaken appropriate training within the previous 12 months with a reputable training provider) and have a valid liability insurance certificate, we do!
3. What Background Checks Are Carried Out on the Personal Assistants?
As well as our on-boarding process, we ensure the Personal Assistants coming onto our register have a full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in the form of an enhanced criminal check prior to them joining. If they’re in Scotland, this is a PVG check. We carry out the same background checks as Domiciliary Care companies. They also have to provide a minimum of five years reference history and where appropriate character references.
4. How Is a Care Plan Created If the Introductory Agency Is Not Directing the Care?
The care plan can often come directly from a local authority, after someone has completed their care needs assessment. But, in our experience, these don’t always capture all of those important human details that make a great match between Personal Assistant and those receiving care. We are there to ensure this really important information is captured. We have an initial chat with you and/or the family. Usually, this is really about discovering what is the most suitable option for you.
Our Account Care Managers will discuss your requirements at length to ensure we have the best possible picture of their needs and circumstances. We’ll then use this information to match you with the most suitable Personal Assistant.
Obviously, care needs can and will change over time. That’s why we encourage families to keep their care information updated. If needs change, the level of support may too. As we have no ongoing role in the care, it’s ultimately up for families and Personal Assistants to make sure this happens, but we can support the level of support around the staffing levels and expertise.
You will want to choose an Introductory Agency that has provided risk assessment and care planning training and resources to their Personal Assistants/families, we do!
5. What If I Decide That the Personal Assistant Recommended by You Isn't Right For Me, Can I Change to a Different One?
Inconsistency in care delivery (different faces coming through the door) can be frustrating for clients and families, especially for those suffering from mental health issues or dementia. We facilitate a direct match between clients and Personal Assistants, this leads to a trusted relationship. Our Account Care Managers will ask you about your own personality and gain information on your thoughts about your ideal Personal Assistant personality and background. We will also facilitate a meeting beforehand, to help you and your Personal Assistant decide on the match.
Inevitably, the best match must work for both parties, Together Making a Difference, and this makes for a far higher probability of a good match from the outset. However, in the event that your Personal Assistant is not right for you, simply let your Personal Assistant know or contact us and we will have those conversations and arrange for you to meet other Personal Assistants.