Caremark’s new approach to delivering home care services has been singled out as an example of innovative practice by the CQC.
The provider’s new PatchCare model, which launched this year in response to widespread issues facing domiciliary care in England, including loneliness of older people and the recruitment and retention of the workforce, was highlighted in the regulator’s new State of Care report.
The PatchCare model divides areas into small geographical ‘patches’, with a maximum of 10 care clients per patch.
This allows clients the opportunity for more visits during the day when needs arise, much like the support they would receive in a care home, rather than receiving support at set times.
Usually, two PatchCare Assistants, communicating through a messaging app called Slack, are allocated to each small patch and provide responsive visits based on the people’s changing needs.
For example, there may be more fixed visits, such as a morning wake-up call, or more variable ones, such as being able to ‘pop back’ to see if people needed support, going on shopping trips, or supporting social visits between two or more people in the same patch.
The CQC said there is evidence of people benefiting from the scheme, with some clients experiencing positive outcomes by achieving their individual goals, as well as enjoying the benefits of flexible visits.
An inspector said: “A man hadn’t painted for about 20 years. Caremark matched him with a lady who had chronic anxiety who was phoning primary services many times a day. He started painting pictures for her, and painted her Christmas cards. They developed a strong friendship as a result of PatchCare. Those are really meaningful connections.”
Staff members have also benefited from better communication during shifts, stable working conditions, a regular salaried wage and the ability to upskill.
For the provider, the scheme has improved staff retention and reduced the burden of care on other services.
“The key factors that enabled PatchCare to be developed were
strong leadership, funding opportunities from the local authority, and
effective partnerships. For example, partnership work between the local
authority and Caremark included evaluating the wellbeing of people using the
service and measuring outcomes,” the CQC said.