CareRooms hit headlines in October 2017 when Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was said to be considering a pilot of the approach to support people out of hospital and into ‘host’ homes for recuperation. The hospital quickly stepped back from this in a statement saying that it encouraged new ideas and innovation but had no intention to support the pilot at this time.
After the false start, CareRooms has announced its UK launch and is looking for hosts in Cambridgeshire, although it is yet to contract with the council, local hospitals or clinical commissioning group.
Disruptive approaches to care and support have been developing over the years and CareRooms is the newest innovative approach.
Motivated by his family’s experiences of caring, CareRooms was developed by Paul Gaudin. Paul’s mother cared for his father, who had Parkinson’s Disease, up until he passed away in 2016. The loss of Paul’s father left his mother alone and socially isolated. From this situation, CareRooms was born.
The CareRooms approach is to enable people who are medically fit for discharge, but unable to leave hospital due to lack of suitable ongoing care or accommodation, to be discharged into the home of a host.
A representative from CareRooms told CMM, ‘It’s for those who would have nobody there to look after them in the short term when they got home or it’s for those whose homes may need adjustments to enable their continued independent living and while the work is ongoing. We offer a safe space for them to continue their recuperation.’
It gives the individual somewhere to stay while they recuperate and CareRooms says that it also supports hosts who may otherwise be lonely or isolated. As an alternative patient choice to help ease pressure on the NHS and local authorities, CareRooms’ target demographic is older people who live alone and/or at a distance from family.
The model involves hosts offering guests a spare room or annexe, with access to a private bathroom.
CareRooms says that the process for becoming a host is highly-selective. Although it doesn’t specifically use values-based recruitment, CareRooms told CMM that, ‘We have our own questions for interviews that enable us to understand that people are a good fit for our business’ culture.
‘Although someone’s ability is of course important, their personality and commitment are very important. That means we only recruit the highest calibre candidates.’
The vetting process includes an initial telephone interview, in-person interview and vetting of the room to be let and communal rooms, ongoing DBS check for host and all residents over 16, and three references.
Once selected, hosts undergo online training in adult safeguarding, Mental Capacity Act, food hygiene, and cleaning and infection control. This includes training on how to clean the room and wash the bedding.
Hosts will also be required to provide home insurance, proof of home ownership, approval from their mortgage lender and have a home visit from a CareRooms area manager before being approved. They must also be registered as having a room for rent so the local authority can inspect them.
How it works
Hosts are not employed by CareRooms and do not deliver care, CareRooms says that hosts ‘are simply there to offer food and beverages and conversation’. Prepared food is delivered to the host’s home and requires the host to heat it. There is no obligation for hosts to be at home. CareRooms says, ‘As long as the patient is provided with three meals a day and has access to what they need, we do not expect the host to be there all day.’
If necessary, CareRooms will undertake a makeover of the host’s spare room, install safeguarding technology and any equipment required by the patient. As part of their on-site Property Suitability Assessment, an area manager will determine whether a room is ready for use and just needs finishing touches or whether it needs a partial or a full refurbishment. There may be a cost to this which is discussed in advance.
CareRooms provides a web-based platform with available room capacity, host recruitment and management, plus a package of support and services. CareRooms has also engaged with insurers to arrange specialist cover for the host and guest.
CareRooms also works with third party suppliers to provide telecare, emergency triage facilities and video GP consultations. CareRooms says this ensures that a medical condition is detected as early as possible and allows early intervention from the patient’s medical team to prevent unnecessary readmission.
CareRooms is paid £125 per night and hosts are paid up to £50 per night from this fee. Hosts may be charged a fee for setting up the room which can be deducted from the room rate, plus a £200 sign-up fee and per night charges. The money goes towards the technology, guests’ food and CareRooms’ staff. Hosts sign an initial three-month contract, after which time it can be terminated.
CareRooms expects that facilities will typically be paid for by the local authority or patient, or both as an alternative to the existing care provision. Guests can register their interest with CareRooms who will find suitable accommodation. Personal care, if required, will need to be commissioned by the guest at an additional cost.
The model is positioned as an additional, more personal choice for people. CareRooms says, ‘We are additional rooms that local authorities currently don’t have. Our job is to work alongside the current pathways to create additional choice. We’re not here to replace anybody.’