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  Home care

   Home Care in the USA

Home care can refer to health care provided in the home by health care professionals (often referred to as home health care or formal care) or by family and friends (informal care). Estimates for the US indicate that most home care is of the informal variety with families and friends providing substantial amounts of care, including very high tech kinds of care as well as simpler assistance with bathing or dressing. For formal care, the health care professionals most often involved are nurses followed by physical therapists and home care aides. Other health care providers include respiratory and occupational therapists, medical social workers and mental health workers. Physicians may perform home visits, also. To find such a physician, contact the American Academy of Home Care Physicians (AAHCP). In the US, home health care is generally paid for by private employer-sponsored health insurance or public payers (Medicare and Medicaid).

   Home Care in the United Kingdom

   Introduction

Home care (also known as domiciliary care) aims to enable people to remain at home rather than use residential or nursing care. Care workers visit service users in their own home and help with daily tasks such as getting up, going to bed, dressing, toileting, personal hygiene, some household tasks, shopping, cooking and supervision of medication.

   Home Care Workers

Care workers are trained in the use of hoists, manual handling, food hygiene and first aid, where these form part of the care required. Although there is no entry-level qualification, many care workers study for a vocational qualification in care. A range of specialist training is also required to provide care to some user groups, such as people with learning disabilities or dementia.

   Home Care Providers

Homecare is purchased by the service user directly from independent home care agencies or as part of the statutory responsibility of social services departments of local authorities who either provide care by their own employees or commission services from independent agencies.

   United Kingdom Home Care Association

Domiciliary care providers in the UK are able to join the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), which is the professional association of domiciliary care providers in the independent, voluntary, not for profit and statutory sectors. The Association represents the views of over 1,540 home care providers, each of which agrees to abide by the UKHCA Code of Practice. UKHCA is often a point of contact for members of the public who wish to contact home care providers in their local area.

   Statutory Regulation

Home care agencies are regulated by statutory bodies in three of the four home nations. The regulator's function is to ensure that home care agencies work within the applicable legislation:

   England

Regulator: The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI)
The Care Standards Act 2000 The Domiciliary Care Agency Regulations 2002

   Wales

Regulator: The Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales (CSIW)
The Care Standards Act 2000 The Domiciliary Care Agencies (Wales) Regulations 2004

   Scotland

Regulator: The Care Commission
The Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001

   Northern Ireland

There is no statutory regulation of domiciliary care at the time of writing (July 2005) although draft legislation is currently under consideration.

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