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Raising the Quality of Home Care: A Study of Service Users’ Views

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Abstract

Raising standards is one of the key objectives of the British government's Modernizing Agenda. The quality of life of vulnerable older people who are being maintained at home is fundamentally dependent on the quality of the home-care services they receive, so raising standards of home care is clearly central to this agenda. This paper draws on a small-scale study of service users and providers to examine the aspects of quality of home care of importance to older people, their experiences and barriers to improvement. Six key aspects of quality were investigated: reliability, continuity, flexibility, communication, staff attitudes and skills and knowledge. If performance indicators are to have the desired effect, more work needs to be done to ensure they reflect key aspects of quality from the user perspective. We identify potential areas for improvement in commissioning and organization but these all have resource implications that will need to be met if home care is to realize its full potential in maintaining and improving quality of life for older people.
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Keywords: Commissioning; Home care; Older people; Performance indicators; Quality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Personal Social Services Research Unit, Cornwallis George Allen Wing, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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