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Care company responds to criticism about the future of ‘care in the home’

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CARE providers, Cera Care, has responded to concerns about the future of personal care in the home for local elderly people following criticism by a local campaigner.

The care company has dismissed concerns that its use of technology will not be suitable for the older community, explaining that the technology that they use is a ‘tool’ to help carers spend more time with those receiving their service.

Cera Care has also offered reassurance about the standard of care that they offer – highlighting their rating of ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The company has made the statement in response to a story in the last issue of Melksham News, where it was reported that the president of Melksham Seniors, Brian Warwick, had spoken out following the news that the domiciliary care division of Mears Group – who have had the contract with Wiltshire Council to deliver its ‘Help to Live at Home’ service in Melksham since 2016 – had been bought by Cera Care. 

The campaigner said that he was ‘deeply concerned and worried’ about the future standards of personal care that would be provided by Cera Care to people living in their own homes, and the support offered to people living in sheltered housing. He highlighted in particular Cera’s use of technology to digitalise its service – which he said was not suitable for the older community, especially those in sheltered housing who have limited IT facilities.

In response to Brian’s concerns a  spokesperson for Cera Care told Melksham News, “Brian suggests elderly people need to be digitally savvy in order to receive effective care from Cera – Cera’s technology is a tool to help carers spend more time caring and less time caught up with paperwork. It’s the same carers as before, but with even better care services and even more time to focus on caring. If older people can’t use the Cera app, they receive an in-person care service as before, and can call the branch as needed/as before.

“Brian claims Cera has a lack of experience as it has only been operating since 2016 – Cera has branches across the country and delivers 10,000 visits a day. Our services are rated ‘good’ by the CQC, and its advisory board is chaired by the former CEO of the CQC. Our satisfaction levels for users are very high, higher than several other care providers, including the previous owners. Cera is now one of the largest care companies in the country and its care is about its people, and its care staff/managers have decades of care experience.

“(Brian said) Cera has a lack of experience in supporting people in sheltered housing, or experience of care in the community – but the same team is delivering the same services with the same experience behind them. Our director of care has over a decade of domiciliary care experience and formerly worked at Mears, amongst other care companies. As above, we are one of the largest care companies in the country, and we deliver 10,000 care visits in the community a day.

“How much of Cera’s work is in the public sector? Over 85%. The former owners of the business were a company as well; so making a reference to private services is irrelevant.

“Cera’s CEO, Ben Maruthappu, is an IT specialist – Ben is a public health doctor by background, with experience in general practice, A&E and geriatrics also. He also sits on the Board of Skills for Care, the national body for workforce in social care. Personally, he organised care for two loved ones, which is the basis of his motivation for getting into the sector and improving it.

“How Cera’s technology is not designed to replace home visits by carers? Cera enables carers; it doesn’t replace them at all. It empowers them to do what they love – care, rather than getting caught up in the paperwork.”

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