My Interview with Home Instead (Fahima Khatun, Canary Wharf)

Fatima Khatun (Director of Home Instead, Canary Wharf)

This month I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Fahima Khatun, Director of Home Instead for Canary Wharf – an award winning private home care organisation serving Tower Hamlets, Newham and City of London boroughs.

I was very kindly invited to Fahima’s office in Docklands, East London to ask her my questions as I was keen to discover how Home Instead supports their clients in the home with personal care, companionship and Home Help (interestingly, there is a real synergy in relation to why we do what we do for our clients).

I am flying the flag for Home Instead because we share a common aim, which is to provide a high-quality support service for those who struggle to leave the home and require help to remain independent for as long as possible (I could have really done with their service when my dad first came out of hospital…but you only know what you know, right?)

Fahima, could you tell me more about the kind of services you deliver in the home for your clients?

We deliver a variety of services for our clients in order to improve their lives. These include, but are not limited to, personal care, home help, and companionship.

Our personal care services help the individual with tasks such as dressing, washing, bathing, transferring, exercising and medication administration.

Home help encompasses assistance with day-to-day duties such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, shopping and laundry.

When we deliver companionship services we are often helping the client with the social aspects of their lives. This can range from something as simple as providing them with a nice chat over a cup of tea to organising appointments or trips to even accompanying them on outings and holidays.

Aside from this, we also provide an information and advocacy service for our clients. Whether it is putting them in touch with other healthcare professionals that may be able to improve their wellbeing, or helping them acquire funding from the Government, we make sure we support our clients every step of the way.

And what sets your service apart from other care providers that exist in London?

Home Instead is an internationally recognised, award-winning home care provider that specialises in the needs of the elderly and in dementia care. Our focus is entirely on delivering a bespoke, caring and compassionate service that matches the wishes of our clients in every way, including the time they wish the CAREGiver to arrive, the duties they wish performed, and the background of the person they wish to care for them.

Home Instead is founded on the belief that effective care can only be achieved by developing a strong, trusting relationship with the client and enabling them to feel in control at all times. Our goal is to ensure that our clients feel safe, happy and independent at home for as long as possible.

There are a number of operational methods we utilise to achieve our goal, such as:

1. Minimum 1 hour visits– This is vital to delivering an effective service to the client and making them feel valued as people, rather than simply being task-based.

2. Match CAREGivers carefully to clients – We take into account the backgrounds, interests and location of clients and CAREGivers to ensure the most suitable person is allocated to provide care.

3. Sending the same CAREGiver every time – This is critical to enable relationships and trust to develop between CAREGivers and clients, and thus improving effectiveness of care.

4. Monitoring of every visit via IQ Timecard – Electronic call monitoring enables us to ensure that CAREGivers are turning up on time and staying for the duration of the scheduled shift, giving clients peace of mind and value for money.

5. Responsiveness – We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can cater for any care emergency at any time.

The combination of these efforts have led to Home Instead being recognised as the UK’s Top Home Care Provider in 2014 and 2015 by Laing & Buisson, the healthcare intelligence body.

Could you give me some examples of the range of clients you support?

We predominantly support individuals over the age of 65. However we also care for younger adults where currently our youngest client is 32 years of age. The support our clients require depends entirely on their induvial needs.

We have one client, for example, who requires four double-handed visits a day. Due to his reduced mobility this client requires full support with his personal care, the administration of his medication and support in carrying out his daily exercises. Furthermore we assist the client to prepare all of his daily meals and carry out his household chores. We also accompany this client to his weekly shopping trips, all of his medical appointments and his social visits.

On the other hand we have another client who requires us to visit her just once a week for a couple of hours so we can assist her with her gardening and provide some help her with her crosswords.

Would like like to share with us a brief story of a client where the service you provided exceeded their expectations?

One of our clients had been diagnosed with 3 crushed vertebrae and suspected osteoporosis following a fall. The client enlisted our services following the fall but had completely lost her confidence in climbing the stairs and mobilising outdoors. With the introduction of our CAREGivers we were able to provide the correct assistance and support to enable the client to regain her confidence in climbing the stairs and going for walks outdoors with our supervision. The client is now able to walk to the local shops and attend regular social meetings with friends and she has fully regained her confidence. We continue to support the client to carry out daily exercises and ensure she follows a nutritious meal plan so she can continue to access the community and maintain her blossoming social lifestyle.

What qualities do you look for in your CAREGivers?

Our success is largely attributed to the quality of CAREGivers that we employ. We select outstanding individuals who demonstrate that they have a caring and compassionate nature, with a primary desire of enriching another person’s life. Only 10% of individuals applying to be CAREGivers with us succeed in becoming Home Instead CAREGivers.

Each CAREGiver must undergo an Enhanced DBS Check, provide 6 references, have excellent communications skills and pass the Home Instead training course.

What level of training have your CAREGivers received in order to help them deliver high-quality care in the home?

We train our CAREGivers thoroughly before allowing them to service any clients. They must show that they understand the Home Instead way of providing high-quality care, and we constantly test and retrain our CAREGivers throughout their employment to ensure their standards never drop.

The mandatory induction training takes place over a four day period covering topics including, but not limited to, First Aid, Basic Life Support, Food Hygiene, Safeguarding, Infection Control, Medication, Moving and Handling, Mental Capacity Act and the Care Certificate.

Home Instead is also one of the very few home care providers to have a City & Guilds accredited Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care training course for its CAREGivers, enabling us to deliver the highly specialised care services that sufferers of these conditions require.

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