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Elder standards

What to expect from your carer and what your carer can expect from you.

Arranging live-in care for a loved one is a big decision. It’s important to the whole family has a good idea of what to expect. That’s where the Elder Standards come in.

We spell out in detail what you can expect from your carer, and what they can expect from you. As well as the characteristics we look for in a carer to make sure they’re the right kind of person – capable of look after those closest to you.

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What you can expect from your carer
What your carer can expect from you

What you can expect from your carer

Your carer is there to help with a range of duties, from personal care to keeping the house nice and tidy.

Personal

These are tasks centred around maximising the safety, comfort, happiness, and wellbeing of the person having care.

Washing and grooming

Support with the daily routine of washing, grooming and getting dressed in fresh clothes. Applying cosmetic creams or make-up, hair removal, and nail filing may also be part of this — if this is required. Applying and removing items such as hearing aids, prostheses or dental orthoses can be done — only if guidance has been given.

Support with toileting

Help with personal or toileting care — including assistance to and from the bathroom and into the shower or bath. Personal care can include more advanced assistance with incontinence — excluding support with a stoma, as specified. We ask that families provide the necessary equipment to help with this — including gloves, aprons and incontinence pads.

Help to get about

Support with safely moving around the house for all day-to-day activities. This can include qualified operating of specialist equipment such as hoists — if specified.

Carer characteristics

Polite — you can expect your carer to always be respectful and considerate.

Nutrition and hydration

Preparation of selected, fresh meals for the person being cared for, ensuring they’re always well fed and well hydrated. This does not include PEG feeding, for which other arrangements should be made.

The carer should communicate to you and Elder if there are any concerns around eating. The carer isn’t expected to cook meals for the rest of the household unless this is specified.

Sleep and night-time

Usually, carers can support at night-time, such as making sure all necessary items are accessible and the person having care is comfortable. They can help with disturbances up to two times per night, for around 15 minutes on average.

If disturbances are frequent, other arrangements will need to be made between you, the carer and Elder. We also recommend a commode is made available to help ensure safety.

Carer characteristics

Flexible – you can expect your carer to be ready to adapt to different situations.

Domestic

These are tasks ensuring a safe and happy environment for your loved one to enjoy.

A tidy house

The carer is expected to maintain light cleaning and tidying, keeping the house hygienic, safe and pleasant to live in. They will keep on top of laundry to meet the needs of the person being cared for, including linens, towels and fresh clothes.

We also recommend employing a professional cleaner, ensuring the house is deep-cleaned regularly.

Shopping and household management

The carer can shop for food and other necessary household items, if needed. If this is the case, we recommend providing them with a prepaid card, as well as guidance on preferences.

Carer characteristics

Honest — you can expect your carer to act with integrity, being truthful at all times

Diary planning

The carer will help the person being cared for to keep on top of medical appointments, events and dates, and also inform your family of any big events.

Activities and companionship

The carer will encourage and support the person being cared for to safely take part in activities of their choice if time allows, including those in and out of the house and with others.

The carer should spend time with the person being cared for as often as wanted, to keep them occupied, engaged and happy. The carer will only care for pets if has been previously agreed.

Carer characteristics

Organised — you can expect your carer to work in an ordered and structured manner.

Emergencies

In the event of an emergency, the carer should always call both the relevant emergency service and your family contact. However, particularly with a fall, they’re trained not to physically intervene. This is in order to prevent further injury.

Carer handovers

When it’s time for a change of carer, your current carer is expected to communicate all the necessary information to the incoming carer. This must be done in person during a full handover — unless otherwise agreed.

What your carer can expect from you

Making care work is a two-way street. There are certain requirements from your family.

Updated information

It’s crucial to regularly update your care appraisal with any changes to care needs and personal information. Fill out all information within the care appraisal at the start of care, and use the My Elder portal (https://my.elder.org) to review your details at least every month — or whenever there are significant changes.

Your Account Manager can assist with wording but not make changes directly. Regular updates will ensure your carers always know what to expect, and are fully qualified and experienced to care in the best possible way.

Their own room and space

For their own safety and comfort, it’s essential your carer has a comfortable, clean and private room, with some storage for clothes and personal possessions. Fresh sheets and towels on arrival are an essential part of this.

Food allowance and household budget

Your carer will need to have provisions made for food during their time with you. You can either include them in your regular food budget or make a separate arrangement, such as a personal weekly food budget. We recommend this should be around £30 per week and this should be arranged through Elder.

If other items need to be purchased, we recommend providing a prepaid card for the carer, and we recommend that carers always retain receipts for items.


Catherine's story

When everything goes right, live-in care can provide more than help with personal or domestic tasks. It can result in genuine, lasting friendships.

Working, safe facilities

We ask that you take some time to ensure the appliances in the home are all working as they should. This should include, but isn’t limited to, the shower, washing machine and cooker, as well as any specialist care equipment — such as electronic hoists or adjustable beds.

We also strongly recommend smoke and other alarms are installed, for household safety. If there are any security cameras operating on the property, the carer must be made aware of these.

Breaks

Within the eight to ten-hour working day, the carer needs to have at least two hours of breaks in total, per day. It’s important to decide with them how this will work, putting together a fixed plan of when breaks are best taken around the needs of the person being cared for. Flexibility on both sides is always appreciated.

Open communication

It’s important that the carer can get in touch with a family member at any time. We recommend swapping numbers and planning regular contact. This is essential so the carer can keep your family updated with any changes in the condition of the person being cared for and/or in the event of an emergency. We’ll be in touch regularly with you and your carer to check how care is going.


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