A new UK based company is currently challenging the traditional care model by offering a platform that allows people to search and hire carers in their local area.
The platform, known as SuperCarers, is the brainchild of brothers Adam and Daniel Pike, who decided to invent an easier way to access and pay for care after they experienced the difficulty of caring for their mother who suffered from dementia.
It is designed to be an alternative to private home care and that provided by local authority services, of which many believe are not up to standards in the UK at the moment.
Research published at the end of the last year found that an estimated 1.2 million people aged over 65 without access to care, which is nearly one in eight of all older people.
How does the platform work?
SuperCarers aims to cut out the ‘middleman’ in the care process and allow families to contact carers in their area directly to organise what is required, such as palliative care and various home care services.
However, the service is aimed at families who have yet to access care, not those already in home care or are residents of care homes.
“What we’re doing is reducing the high overhead costs of agency businesses by using technology,” said Adam Pike.
“By connecting the families and the carers directly, the carers get paid the living wage and the families are saving money.”
The carers available through the SuperCarers website all almost all self-employed, due to individuals needing to apply through the website to register as a carer.
The fact that anyone can, therefore, apply to be a carer has worried some people, but SuperCarers assures that all carers must go through a vigorous application process.
The company’s website says that the process includes meeting the individual in person for numerous interviews, as well as vigorous identity and criminal record checks.
Cheaper for all
The company also says since SuperCarers does not take a cut from each successful transaction, families end up paying less and carers end up earning more.
While carers are free to set their own rate, the average is £16 ($27) for one hour of care, once tax has been applied.
“We are clear with them,” Pike said. “We ask them to tick [a box to acknowledge] that they understand their employment status.”
Support and criticisms
SuperCarers has received much support, as well as criticisms since being introduced.
As of June 2017, the company has over 650 carers available through its platform and has gained the support of numerous investors.
Some notable names include Jamjar Investments, a fund run by Innocent drinks company founder Richard Reed, Chairman of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, as well as the founder of Evergreen Life Stephen Critchlow.
But prominent individuals such as Colin Angel, policy and campaigns director for the UK Homecare Association, are not sold on the new approach to care, particularly regarding the use of its introduction-only model:
“They are offering one alternative among many but they are not offering the managed care service that most people in this country are using and expect. It’s certainly not the model that most local authorities are purchasing,” he said.
But while the UK’s care industry continues to suffer, backer of SuperCarers and Paediatric junior doctor, Chris Kelly says that it is “… one way to help this problem that’s only going to get worse.”