An ethical approach to home care
One of the things Harley Street Care prides itself on is our ethical approach to domiciliary care. This approach doesn’t just relate to care recipients, but it’s at the centre of our employment policy: the ways in which we value and support the caregivers who work for us.
In fact, this ethical stance is a core value upon which the company was founded. Harley Street Care’s founder, Lesley John, first identified the need for a care agency with a different approach when she had first-hand experience of a loved one requiring care, and saw the pressures and difficulties that the care assistants she met were up against.
Lesley recognised that the best way to support people who need care is by ensuring that the people who provide that care are supported well themselves.
Today, by continuing to ensure that our care assistants are well trained, well compensated and looked after, we are able to provide a home care service that is second to none.
Above average pay for care workers
At Harley Street Care, we believe that happy and well-supported carers will translate to better quality care service for the service user. That’s why we pay our care assistants a rate that is considerably over industry average. In fact, our rates are not only above the UK minimum wage, but they are above the UK Living Wage and even over the London Living Wage.
A survey by UNISON last month found that nearly half of the care workers they surveyed across the UK were thinking of leaving their job, with the main reason (given by 73%) being “low pay”. This is bad news not just for the industry, but for everyone. As we face the challenges of an ageing population, we need to encourage and support carers to provide the best quality care.
Care workers are trained professionals and it’s essential that we recognise and reward them as such.
Minimum two-hour shifts
The UNISON survey also highlighted a problem with the lack of time that caregivers across the industry have to deliver care. Again, nearly half of the survey’s respondents said they do not have adequate time to support people with dignity and compassion, and more than half of those who said they were thinking of leaving their job gave this as a reason for leaving.
The need for more time is something we take very seriously at Harley Street Care – and that’s why we have a minimum two-hour shift policy. As well as giving our care assistants more time to deliver high quality care, it means that they have fewer poorly-paid shifts, and spend less time travelling between appointments.
Open door policy
We’re proud to say that, for carers that fully engage and go on to work for us regularly, we have a very high retention rate. In other words, once someone has worked with Harley Street Care a few times, they tend to want to continue working for us for much longer than average.
This is partly down to the attractive pay rates and the longer minimum shifts, but also the highly supportive and open-door environment that we try and provide. Communication is vital, so as well as holding regular meetings, carers are always welcome to come to the office and air concerns, get support on care-related matters… or simply vent a little.
We value our staff and want them to be happy. To us, this ethical approach seems obvious, but the proof is in the top-quality care they provide.