domiciliary care


We have continued to provide high-quality homecare to our customers throughout the lockdown period. All our carers have all been trained in Coronavirus infection control and our operations policies and procedures are continually reviewed to deliver the latest Government advice. The safety and well-being of our customers and carers is always our top priority.
For latest guidance, information and updates on the Coronavirus visit GOV.UK Public Health England.

A Filing Cabinet and a New Chair

There are some business milestones they never teach you on a management course. I don’t recall any lecturer saying how the purchase of a filing cabinet and a new chair requires a reflection on the progress of the business.

But the new filing cabinet spoke to me today and said “Boy, do we desperately need more space for the information on the growing number of customers and staff we now have.”

So, why do we need more filing capacity? Because it appears that our past and present customers are telling others about the quality of the care we’re providing and our services.

And how are we achieving this reputation? Well, the only answer is to be found in the carers we employ and what they do. We make huge promises in our Care Plans when we commit to care for someone, but that’s all they are “promises” until we actually start to deliver. Our carers have to adjust to a different elderly person’s home environment in every call. There are general standards that we deploy but they have to adjust to a different care regime, different preferences with or without medication, with or without mental or physical capacity, in each call — and we recognise this. We have always acted upon a belief that the only way to look after our customers is through looking after our staff, by paying the best in the area, by nurturing their career ambitions and by trying to develop them as best we can. It didn’t take me too much strategic analysis to see that our staff are the reason why the business needs more filing space and is growing rapidly across Maidenhead, Windsor and Ascot!

Oh, and the new chair? Well, that was in homage to Zig Ziglar and his comment that “You don’t build a business. You build people and then people build the business.” Our success is Tracy’s. She controls the standards and the systems within which our carers operate, and she deserves a new chair … even if there was another two years left in her old one!

Paul Dunn-Sims

Our growth news coincides with CQC Inspection update


Good management of a domiciliary care agency takes more than just ticking boxes

The CQC inspectors have just returned our annual inspection report and we are delighted to announce that a great CQC report coincides with the news that we have just exceeded 400 care hours per week, and now employ 25 people  — a significant milestone we set out to achieve and are now surpassing.

We’d like to share some of the CQC findings with you. It just goes to show once again that boxes can be ticked, but to really come up to scratch you have to see the evidence in the comments behind the boxes. So we are happy to report that not only are we meeting all the standards, but have surpassed expectations in certain areas.

We were found to have met the standard for Respecting and Involving people, Care and Welfare of people, Safeguarding people from abuse, Supporting workers, Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision — and we would expect nothing less. What really matters is what both our customers and their relatives, and our carers and their managers, told the CQC about us.

Here’s a summary of what they found:

From our customers:

“People were wholly complimentary about the quality of the service they received with one person describing staff as ‘really lovely’ and said staff went ‘beyond the scope of what they need to do.’

Other people described staff as ‘respectful’ and ‘very well trained.’

One person said the manager was ‘very particular about the staff they employed.’”

This is exactly one of our top priorities and it’s good to know it’s being noticed.

From our staff:

“Staff felt supported and one, who was new in the post, found the support helpful in making them feel comfortable in their role. Staff were also motivated and said they enjoyed their work.”

And here are some first-hand remarks that support our top priorities — the report highlights that we keep our promises.

Involving people in their care plan, giving them control and respect:  “We saw there was a clear schedule of support the person had planned with staff and the times this was to be delivered. The schedule was supported by detailed individualised care plans. People we spoke with said they had been involved in their care planning and were able to request changes and we saw these requests were acted upon.”

Treating people with dignity:  “Staff spoke with confidence about how they ensured people were treated with respect and dignity and gave examples of how they did this when supporting people with their personal care needs. People using the service, and relatives, said staff were always respectful and showed regard for people’s dignity and independence.”

Keeping people safe from abuse:  People who used the service told us they felt safe with the care staff allocated to provide their support. Staff told us they were up to date with their safeguarding training and we saw records of certificates, in staff files, to confirm this. The information provided, together with our observations demonstrated that people were protected against the risk of abuse.”

Regular vetting and training of staff:  “We saw that staff were regularly assessed. Managers carried out regular checks to assess staff performance and also to offer support and guidance to staff. Staff said they had enough time to carry out their duties effectively and we saw that staff always stayed at a person’s home for the allocated time to ensure they were providing the most effective care they could.”

It’s great when a homecare agency can be upfront about its operations; none should have anything to hide.



Will my carer help me with just the small jobs? I don’t want a full home care package


Some elderly people don’t want a full care service – what they really want is a bit of everything. This is sometimes difficult to articulate.

We know that the little things make all the difference, so no job is too small. It could be help with shopping, collecting pills from the pharmacy or surgery, helping them get upstairs at night, or just making a cup of tea and having a chat. Obviously, at the other end of the spectrum we have experience in dealing with customers suffering with severe illnesses, disabilities and dementia.

None of our commissions are the same. We build our care plans around what the individual wants and needs, and the home environment that they live in.


Am I at risk with a home carer?


There is always the fear that strangers coming into the home bring risk. An elderly person may be concerned that they don’t know them; that the carer doesn’t know what they like or don’t like; that they might even abuse the situation and steal from them or invade their privacy without consent.

Our care assessment is focused on identifying what someone wants and if possible providing an introduction to them as a person. As our CQC Inspection noted, our care plans are very detailed even down to telling the carer where to find the hoover or where the tea bags are kept.

A good, reputable carer agency, like ours, recruits staff that are good at getting to know our customers really well in terms of their personal tastes and expectations. This is their top priority. And we check, vet and train our carers very carefully. When interviewing we are looking at the values the candidate has in answer to the question: can you show complete respect for the person you are caring for and build lasting , trusting relationships?

This is the most important question to us because we are confident we can train them to effectively perform all the care tasks.

Does having care at home mean people will assume I can’t cope?


For many elderly people, they don’t want carers turning up at their door every day in case people think they can’t cope.

Having home care visits doesn’t say that at all – it tells others, including family, that the person is fully aware and taking charge, staying independent and in control of their own needs.

Does taking your car to a garage mean that you shouldn’t be on the road?

Can I have home care and keep my independence?

Often, an elderly person would prefer care at home – they want to remain at home for as long as possible – but they are scared of losing their independence once a carer starts to come in.

Home carers can provide help which actively promotes independent and healthy living. They can focus on rehabilitation, enablement for the individual and the offer advice that helps them to help themselves. Our knowledge of the importance that food and fluids plays in maintaining healthy life helps reduce the number of falls and infections.

We can also help people to maintain their skills and make informed choices, giving them the confidence they need to take control. The greatest benefit of course, is how carers contribute towards reducing social isolation. We believe communicating with people is a skill that needs to be practised. It is our commitment to including time in our calls for social interaction that is the main reason why we will not accept 15 minute commissions where the rushing around to complete the tasks relegates and even eliminates social chit chat.

Should I be the home carer for my elderly relative?


Some family members tussle with the idea of bringing in home care for ageing loved ones or providing it themselves. Some might believe they can provide the same level of care for the person they love, and save money too.

We spend a large amount of money on training and supervising staff in safe, effective care practices. Consider that, when doing this job, your loved ones deserve your ability to do it as well as the trained professionals, without risking anyone’s health or well-being. Doing things without adequate knowledge – like lifting and helping them move around – you could be putting yourself at risk too. We are also continually amazed at the stories of people who have given up rewarding jobs and careers only to discover the hardship of carer burn-out, or find it just as difficult when carer dependency develops. Our carers do this job because they love it – and because they have trained hard to be the best at it. They are friendly but always professional and have different customers on their rounds to make sure the change and variety helps reduce their stress levels from the more difficult cases. They build relationships but are able to remain objective and act in the care recipient’s interests.


What if Mum or Dad don’t want home care?


One often-cited reason why families don’t go down the private home care route for elderly loved ones is simply because they anticipate flat refusal or a lot of arguments from their relative.

Agreeing to assistance is a sensitive and very personal choice. There are some additional fears about having home help from strangers more than family members. We understand the difficult job some families have of trying to persuade elderly relatives that a bit of help or care would improve their lives with the additional benefit of prolonging their choice to stay at home. It is not easy raising the subject let alone progressing to a point where everyone agrees to meet with a care provider. But regular, professional care does help both the recipients and their families.

Halcyon creates care packages perfectly tailored for the individual’s needs and desires – so they are still fully in control and they determine the needs they want to address. (LINK to other article) In addition, as well as peace of mind, their families have access to experienced specialists in elderly care that is not readily available in books or the health service. We believe the advantages of professional help far outweigh the awkwardness of the initial conversations.


Private elderly home care – is it too expensive?


Expense is often top of the list of reasons why families decide not to go down the home care route. You don’t want your elderly loved one in a residential care home, and you are doing as much as you possibly can for them. You need some help but assume private home care is a more expensive option.

The short answer to this is that if you do your own research into care costs, you will discover that the cost of assisted living or nursing home care in Berkshire is usually much higher. A personal home carer – who will come to the home, care attentively for your loved one, and build a mutual friendly relationship with them — should be just as expensive, we agree! The fact is that home care services are generally the most affordable elderly care option available, while allowing the recipient of the care to retain choice over when and what to eat, what time to get up and when to go to bed. Things that are simply not practical in a care home environment.