The home care industry is one of the most rewarding and lucrative franchise sectors to be involved in.
Not to be confused with the care home industry, home care involves carers coming to the house or place where a person in need of assistance is dwelling.
Practical support and domiciliary care can be provided to enable the person to be as comfortable and happy as possible within their own environment.
As people are now living longer, we have a far greater percentage of elderly people than in previous generations and that means high demand for home care.
Strain on the healthcare system has lead to support for independent living, making the home care sector a multi-billion pound market place.
There are two main types of home care businesses: those that provide medical care and those that provide non-medical companionship and help around the home.
Both require signing up with the Care Quality Commission CQC, if you reside in England, or its equivalent elsewhere in the UK (Care Inspectorate in Scotland, RQIA in Northern Ireland and CSSIW in Wales).
Policies and procedures operated within a home care business will generally need to meet the Health and Social Care Act 2008 associated regulations and current practices. Being part of a franchise will be helpful in being up-to-date on the changing laws and regulations in such a heavily moderated sector.
1. Home care franchises providing medical care
These types of care franchises provide medical domiciliary care by out-sourcing nurses and health care staff to hospitals, nursing homes and private residences. A variety of conditions are catered to including dementia, mental health, elderly domestic, post-operative, palliative and more.
Kare Plus is just such an operation. Originally, the franchise provided specialist and non-specialist staff to the NHS, however they have now expanded to include care to private hospitals, residential nursing homes, local authorities, health centres and GP surgeries.
Training and staff
The franchise should be CQC (or equivalent) approved providers of medical and non-medical domiciliary care. In turn, this means that a franchisee must provide staff training that is in line with government policies.
Kare Plus, for example, provides franchisees with in-depth initial training through a team of experienced clinical and business professionals. Support and advice are also provided during the launch of a franchisee’s business and at the beginning of recruitment of staff.
Due to the high regulation of the home care market, it is essential that franchisers providing medical care are constantly aware of new legislation, methods and applications. Often, franchisors such as Kare Plus will arrange regular training courses for franchisees and staff so they are up to date and consistent with the latest regulations.
The NHS guide entitled ‘Good Practice Guidance: The administration of medicines in domiciliary care,’ which was most recently revised in February 2014 (there are often revisions, so make sure to keep up to date) should be strictly adhered to.
Within the guide, it states that training requirements for domiciliary care staff ‘must be at least to the same standard as for care workers in a care home because people in a domiciliary care setting are more vulnerable than those in a care home.’
A home care agency should provide a training package that adheres to both the needs of the service users and those of care workers.
Training should cover (as stated in the guide above):
- Preparing the correct dose of medication
- Administering medication through non-invasive techniques (i.e. tablets)
- Responsibility of the care worker for ensuring administrations of medicines to the person for whom they’re prescribed
- Checking medication ‘use by’ date has not expired
- Checking that person has not already been given the medication by anyone else
- Recognising and reporting side effects of medicine
- Reporting refusals to take medication and medicine errors
- How a care worker should administer medicines prescribed ‘as required’
- What care workers should do when people request non-prescribed medicines
- Understanding the service provider’s policy for record keeping
It is imperative that once training is concluded for staff, the agency must find a formal way of assessing them before they are assigned to home care. Refresher medication training should be provided to staff annually and on a frequent enough basis so that existing workers’ knowledge can be refreshed in line with potential changes in regulations.
Risk and benefits
Franchisors will often provide information to franchisees on where to buy the insurance from – they will have the basic insurance required by law, however you may want to take out an extra policy.
Kare Plus, for example, has public liability and employer’s liability in accordance with statutory requirements.
The main risks with going into a medical (as opposed to non-medical) home care will mainly be regarding training and insurance. Staff must be more highly and specifically trained to deal with administering medicines and the responsibility it entails, while employers are held legally responsible for their staff.
Financially, however, there is ultimately less risk with medical care-giving due to the multiple revenue streams available compared to non-medical companionship.
2. Home care franchises providing non-medical companionship
These types of home care franchises focus on supporting older people in their homes with daily activities that have become a struggle. The carers don’t attend to any medical needs, but look to address the important need for companionship.
Non-medical care providers can help with a variety of everyday tasks, including: eating, meal preparation, errands, light housekeeping, shopping, transportation, social activities, and more.
Home Instead Senior Care provide a focused approach to home care, and are one of the largest care companies that specialise in non-medical care at home for older people.
There is a great demand for this type of care, and until recently the need for companionship for the elderly has been largely overlooked.
Trevor Brocklebank, owner of the master franchise of Home Instead Senior Care in the UK, said that it was being unable to find good, non-medical care for his grandfather that spurred him on to buy the franchise.
In this business you’re dealing with vulnerable people and you need a real passion for what you do as well as a great business head.
It’s no good finding someone immensely caring who can’t run their own business, but you don’t want someone in it purely to make money.
He continues: ‘I was looking for care for my grandfather and wanted someone to look in on him for a couple of hours a day, cook him a decent meal and do some basic cleaning. I wanted to have the same person every day so if his health deteriorated I’d get a call...only I couldn’t find anybody. I thought well, this isn’t rocket science.’
After talking to a variety of people, he realised that this was a very common issue and looked within the US for a good franchise to take to the UK – which is when he discovered Home Instead Senior Care.
‘In this business you’re dealing with vulnerable people and you need a real passion for what you do as well as a great business head. It’s no good finding someone immensely caring who can’t run their own business, but you don’t want someone in it purely to make money.’
Training and staff
Staff must be trained to be CQC (or equivalent) approved providers of non-medical domiciliary care.
New employees should be provided with a training program that allows the addressing of issues such as recognising depression, safety at home and planning activities. Additional training can be provided for specific cases – for example, Home Instead Senior Care also provide an Altzeimer’s training program.
Unlike at home care companies that provide medical care, potential staff needn’t have had previous medical nor nursing experience. The main aspects looked at in a potential employee is a caring personality.
Risk and benefits
Despite the fact that you may own a non-medical home care business, you are still working with vulnerable people. Therefore, the liability you are taking on will be substantial - you should ensure that you have appropriate insurance.
Alongside the need for insurance, there’s a much bigger dependency on one main avenue of revenue in non-medical home-care, comapred to medical care.
Within a such a fast-growing industry, however, there will be a consistent demand for help at home.
Furthermore, while there is still a risk in operating a business in a heavily regulated industry, less qualifications are needed by staff, as they will not be expected to administer medical treatment.
And this lack of prior experience needed by potential employees means that there will be more candidates to choose from, so you can pick people with the right personality traits to join your team.
Interested in buying a home-care franchise? Have a look at our franchise listings here.