There has been a lot of talk and commentary about regulating the home care sector. Minister Jim Daly’s position seems to be that we will have a statutory scheme with regulation, in the next two years and that certainly would be very welcome.

But this begs the question, what’s the best way to ensure quality home care? Bringing in regulation will certainly increase supervision and monitoring. There will be more forms to fill in and more reports to deliver and this will play a part in improving services.

However for me, these efforts are about finding out about issues when things go wrong rather than encouraging and fostering great care from the beginning. They are not drivers of quality care but more like a means to apportion blame once something does go wrong.

For me there are two principle drivers of great quality care;

  • Happy, well rewarded and motivated carers
  • Continuity of care

Everything else is secondary. At Home Care Direct we are all about trying to achieve those two aims. Carers on our platform are earning on average €20 an hour, are in control of their own destiny and have the opportunity to make caring into an attractive career. We see on a daily basis how getting properly rewarded and valued, encourages carers to take real ownership of their work and in turn to deliver exceptional care. That isn’t to say that there are many carers out there delivering great care on poor wages, but what often happens is that those carers exit the sector in frustration of not being valued.

Our platform also delivers on continuity, as it’s the same carer attending their own client day in and day out. When they are sick or go on holidays, they proactively communicate with families and where necessary, organise a substitute from their buddy group of other carers on the platform and working in the same area.

Quality home care is not about form filling, ticking boxes and covering your proverbial backside. It’s much more human than that. Quality homecare is about stable, personal relationships, built on respect, being valued and empathy. It’s about delivering great outcomes for those being cared for.

Let’s hope that any future frameworks don’t regulate this human aspect and personal touch out of home care, by imposing excessive bureaucracy on home care delivery. Regulation has to be flexible enough to accommodate various types of providers and not just existing delivery structures. What regulation needs to foster are great outcomes, not just more control and monitoring.