Keeping the family together

“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.”  Thomas Jefferson

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Our cultures, our societies, our religions are what keeps us together and united.  There comes a time in all our lives when we have to make difficult decisions concerning our own families and since we now live in a world where we are trying to don’t always easy.   This is fast becoming a way of life and it doesn’t mean that families care for each other any less, in fact it makes them realise even more how vulnerable family members can be.  So when the parents become less independent and need help and support, what to do then?   The natural solution would be to find a good care home, where the parents would be living on a full time basis and family can come and visit.  However this life doesn’t suit everybody, especially when the person needing the care wants to be near to their family and live in their home they have lived in for most of their adult lives.  They are used to seeing certain friends, visiting their local shops and walking to the local park.  It doesn’t make sense to take this away from them.  It can also leave the loved one feel isolated as they are not surrounded by family and have to make new friendships, possibly with people who don’t understand their culture, religion or even language.  There are circumstances where a care home is the only option, but in many cases it needn’t be.

There is another solution, and that is home care.  It can be entirely up to the family how much and what sort of care is wanted.  Having this allows the family to remain together, giving some respite to those who are caring for their family and also allowing grandchildren to remain close to their grandparents.  Having a support worker at home you can all benefit from a better quality of life by being close together and actually spending quality time with each other, knowing that the professional carer is there to take care of the every day duties that can take up this precious time.

It is so important that traditions can be kept constant in a changing world.  These traditions can continue and be passed down through the generations.  Some of us are lucky to have really great memories of growing up surrounded by family members sharing in the traditions that our forefathers grew up with – wouldn’t it be great if our children could experience the same?  Memories they can share and pass on to their own children.  The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the education of the generation to come.

 

Is the customer still King?

iStock_000019598030SmallWalking home at night, have you ever wondered why you do not get a bill through your door for the street lighting that you use?  You use it every evening, it lights your way home, it makes you feel safe, it’s always there.  You are therefore a user of this service, or a “service user” if you prefer, so why are you not sent a bill?

What has been clear to me for long time now, is that a service user is not a customer, that is why you do not directly pay for this service.  If any rational person was asked to pay for street lighting, they would say “no”, since the rational person could not quantify how much they used versus the next person.  The rational person would say “someone else will pay for it, so I do not need to”.

However, if the same rational person was asked to pay for care for themselves, of course they would say yes, since, this is a service that they are receiving themselves, they have individual benefits from receiving this service, this service is for them and them alone and more importantly, no other rational individual will pay for them.  This is why I believe that the person getting the care is not a ‘service user’ but a customer.  The word ‘customer’ comes with several underlying connotations, and the one that everyone remembers is “customer is King”.

It’s about time the management and leadership in the social care industry started treating the people that they care for as customers and not just users of a service.  Does this really make a big difference?  Yes it does, the customer is King, whereas the user is just a number.  We need to constantly remind the leadership that no industry in history has ever developed, let alone survived without listening to their customers.

We do not have any service users at Acacia Homecare, we only have customers.