Homecare providers to be inspected

Long-term care insurance is reluctant to cover home care, rather than care in residential or care homes, as the sector is unregulated. This will change so insurers may have to consider putting more onus on the cheaper care in the home.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will carry out an inspection programme of providers of home care services from April 2012 and will cover about 250 providers of domiciliary care services.

As well as producing an inspection report for each individual provider, CQC will also produce a national report that sets out findings about quality and safety in these themed inspections.

These inspections follow a pilot programme of 30 inspections of domiciliary care services, where CQC has been trialling different methods to make sure inspectors clearly hear the views of people who use the services and their families.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a report on home care services that reveals disturbing evidence that the poor treatment of many older people is threatening their human rights.

Cynthia Bower of CQC says, "Home care is one of the most difficult areas of care to monitor. Often the people who use home care services find themselves in vulnerable circumstances and the operation of home care is not as transparent as care in hospitals and other sectors because the interactions happen behind closed doors in people's homes. In the reviews we will focus on dignity and respect, the safeguarding of people in vulnerable circumstances, and how well supported and trained home care staff are to undertake these most important care tasks."

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