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Quality of homecare: supporting the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers

Around 10 million unpaid carers in the UK provide support for friends and family.


Homecare services play a critical role in helping to reduce the demands placed on carers, as well as promoting the wellbeing of the person receiving care.

Despite the importance of homecare services, we know very little about who receives homecare and exactly what support they need.

Aims and objectives

This research aims to:

  • explore different perspectives on the quality of homecare (ranging from ‘good’ care to extreme cases of abuse) as seen by care recipients, unpaid carers, regulators, providers and commissioners;
  • understand the theoretical and practical options available to family carers who want to express concerns about homecare;
  • consider how data from homecare providers can contribute to assessing and monitoring care quality.

Research questions:

  • What does quality of homecare mean to different people?
  • How can data from homecare providers be effectively used to assess care quality?
  • What methods do family carers of older people have for raising concerns about the quality of social care?
  • What is known about how family carers of older people respond when they perceive the care on offer to be inadequate or harmful?

Work packages:

  1. Report on the quality of homecare from a range of perspectives.
  2. Report on exploratory study of how data from homecare providers may be utilised to investigate care quality.


  • A review of existing literature and stakeholder perspectives on homecare quality (including those from recipients, carers, providers, commissioners and regulators).
  • A narrative review of different approaches to raising concerns about care quality.
  • An exploratory study on how (and what) data from homecare providers can be used in assessing care quality.

Policy relevance

Care quality in homecare is influenced by various factors.

Raising concerns can be challenging, especially for older people. Rejecting homecare due to quality concerns risks unmet needs and compromised wellbeing, potentially leading to emergency admissions or crisis situations.

Consumer feedback improves quality and safety. The Care Act 2014 lacks a tribunal appeal process but mandates internal complaints. Additional recourse involves the Local Government Social Care Ombudsman and judicial review. These processes can be lengthy, and potentially costly and imbalanced.

Understanding carers’ response to poor-quality care and the impact of raising concerns can inform mechanisms for enhancing quality.

Delivery dates

June 2023 – June 2024



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