By Tracey Rees, chair of Healthwatch Oxfordshire

Many of you, like my brother and I, will have a member of your family needing help to live at home.

Home is where we all want to be and when we need extra help to do so we want to know that care will be good quality and really help us.

Recently, my brother and I have seen just how the carers for our mother have had to adapt the way they care for her.

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Both in respect of her limited mobility but also as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

We continue to be truly grateful for their care and compassion, which keeps mum where she wants to be.

As part of Healthwatch Oxfordshire’s year-long focus on social care we want to find out more about how home care is organised and delivered, particularly from those who provide this care.

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Tracey Rees

We know there are hundreds of home carers in the county, doing an amazing job every day, but we rarely hear from them – and we want to change that!

If you’re employed in home care support, whether privately, on a self-employed basis or for a home care agency, please take a few minutes to fill in this anonymous survey

We want to know what you think good home care looks like, and whether you are getting the help and support you need to deliver good care.

We’d also like to hear what impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on how you do your job and on your own health and wellbeing.

Through our work we have already heard from Alison (whose name we’ve changed).

Alison cares for the elderly as well as those with disabilities, dementia and long-term or terminal illnesses.

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Alison says she loves helping people and describes what she does as the ‘best job in the world’, but she told us that a lack of support can make it harder for her to do that job.

She says it’s difficult not knowing where to turn when she needs help, there are ‘endless loops to jump through’ paperwork-wise, and that it’s not always easy to get the help her clients need from other healthcare professionals.

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly caused additional pressures for carers.

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Alison said keeping up with the ever-changing rules around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been hard, and at times it has been difficult to source the PPE she needs.

She also describes the huge issues of loneliness and isolation the pandemic has caused for the people she cares for.

What Alison has told us is echoed by many other carers who have so far completed our survey, and one of the real themes to emerge so far is how proud carers are to do their job.

“Making a positive impact on the people we support” and “Making clients smile and feel safe” are some of the comments we’ve had.

Someone else told us: “It’s one of the few jobs where you often start and end your working day by being given a heartfelt smile.”

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We’re really grateful to all those carers who have completed our survey so far, but we would really like to hear from more people.

We will use what you tell us to inform our report for those who pay for and plan care in the county.

To ensure that they understand what is working well and what could be better.

We really want to make a difference for those caring for people locally, and for those needing care – but we need your feedback to do that!

Please get in touch if you would like a paper copy of the survey or a translated version or would prefer to talk your experiences through with someone. You can reach the team by calling 01865 520520 or sending a message to