At Home Care Direct, we see every day the power of people. Ordinary people, who take on responsibility and do great things. People who make a difference when liberated to do so and when motivated to do so.
Home care is a simple service that tends to get complicated by bureaucratic systems and structures. Systems and structures designed to justify and protect administrators but not necessarily to help those needing care and support.
At Home Care Direct, our philosophy is all about enabling and empowering great carers to make a direct difference in people’s lives, undiluted by corporate structures or ulterior motives.
Two examples of the great work our carers are capable of, once they are appreciated and valued, are;
Jane (not her real name) has been managing a team of 5 personal assistants for a disabled Leader. She delivers support herself but also manages rosters and recruits other PAs for her team. Previously she was just a normal carer but not given any real responsibility. Now she delivers 40hrs support and manages her team. She earns €24/hr plus extra payments for the extra management work she does. Jane was an underutilised resource previously, who liked her work but only earned €13/hr and never felt she had a real future in home care.
Sandra (not her real name) used to work as a carer earning €12.50/hr. She generally did about 35hrs a week but that could increase and decrease on a weekly basis. That uncertainty was a worry for Sandra. Sandra was a good carer but felt somewhat demotivated and was working a little bit on auto pilot. If she was honest with herself, she probably didn’t bring her whole self to work shown by the odd Monday calling in sick or sometimes arriving late to clients.
She put her profile up on the Home Care Direct platform charging €22/hr and found herself getting some enquiries and in turn some private clients. Then she noticed her attitude changing once she saw that she was being valued and well rewarded.
Sandra suddenly rediscovered a love for her work and found that she loved taking on the responsibility of having her own clients. Clients that depended on her, not an agency. Suddenly, Monday morning sick days and poor time keeping were a thing of the past.
While there are many carers out there doing great work despite feeling frustrated and unappreciated, what Jane and Sandra’s stories show, is how people react and step up, to being valued and appropriately rewarded. There are loads of people all over Ireland who are either working in the care sector but maybe doing so on autopilot or people who would like to contribute to their communities but aren’t sure how.
At Home Care Direct we want to liberate those people to be the best they can be. By fostering an army of local, motivated carers, we can ensure caring becomes a respected and attractive career. We can ensure that solutions to waiting lists and delayed discharges are found within communities themselves. Solutions that are not dependant on rigid top down systems and processes. Solutions that are not complicated by bureaucracy and form filling. Rather, solutions that are born out of the simple human desire of wanting to help others.
In order to encourage this kind of behaviour, we need to start to devolve control back to the Local and back to families. Trusting them to make decisions and take initiatives, based on local knowledge and not just accept centrally conceived, one size fits all programmes.
The commissioning of home care services has a large role to play here and it needs to loosen the control strings and stop thinking only about top down and imposed solutions and instead try and rekindle a lost community spirt whereby communities and people are supported to help themselves, rather than wait for centrally imposed corporate solutions.
After all, modern home care services are really just a top down replacement for a breakdown of our communities, caused by a myriad of reasons. They provide what strong, robust communities themselves used to do, look after those members, weaker and sicker.
To para phrase a famous political mantra, “its about people stupid” not rules, processes and top down edicts. At Home Care Direct we are trying in a small way, to rekindle local community spirit through empowering great local carers to contribute to their communities, so that older and disabled citizens can live the lives they want in the place they want.