Service User Guide

Welcome to the Gardiner’s Homecare Service User Guide.

Gardiner’s was established in 1968 by Dorothy Gardiner.  Dorothy was made an MBE in 1984 for her ‘outstanding contribution to fostering good standards of care in the independent sector’.  Dorothy strove to provide a professional, sensitive, caring service, setting high standards and valuing every client and staff member equally.

More than fifty years on, Gardiner’s remains a family business with a reputation for providing reliable, compassionate and dedicated care at home.    We promote and maintain independence by providing personalised care and companionship tailored to individual needs.  We are regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

Service User Guide

How would you like Gardiner’s to help?

Whatever it is that you are struggling within your day to day life, our Care Workers are likely to be able to help.  Maintaining your independence is important.  Detailed below are some of the things that we can help with:

  • Building confidence after a stay in hospital perhaps by staying overnight to provide reassurance or assistance
  • Providing companionship or helping you to maintain a hobby or interest
  • Accompanying on walks or perhaps trips to the cinema or a local café
  • Preparing meals and drinks & if needed support with eating and drinking
  • Going to the shops with you, or going for you if needed
  • Housework such as cleaning, changing the bedsheets or putting the bins out
  • Taking medication
  • Reading paperwork aloud to you or assisting to make telephone calls
  • Getting up, dressed & ready for the day and getting ready for bed in the evening
  • Accompanying to appointments
  • Washing & grooming – having a bath or shower, brushing teeth, shaving etc
  • Support to use the toilet, if needed emptying a commode or other continence care such as changing pads, emptying catheter bags etc

Where we are not allowed to help with certain tasks on safety grounds, for example, heavy lifting of any kind, including lifting or moving you without appropriate equipment or a sufficient number of people to assist; household maintenance (including DIY tasks); assistance with your finance; cutting toe or fingernails.

Covid-19 precautions

We know that our clients rely upon the help that they receive from Gardiner’s.  The role that domiciliary care workers play in helping those they support to stay fit, healthy and happy has been really important in minimising the pressure on the NHS.

We fully recognise that Covid-19 has represents a serious threat to many of our clients.  We are proud that our staff were amongst the first to be vaccinated and have achieved an exceptionally high take up rate.

Our team continue to take weekly COVID tests.

All staff members have undertaken repeated training in relation to Covid-19, infection control and the use of PPE.  They are fully aware of the symptoms of Covid-19 and know to stay at home and self-isolate if they, or someone they live with, displays symptoms, or if advised to do so by NHS test and trace.

Infection control continues to be of key importance.  Every staff member is provided with alcohol gel.  You will notice that Care Workers will frequently be washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water.  We also regularly check that all clients maintain good stocks of soap, kitchen roll for hand drying and surface cleaner.

All staff are provided with full PPE including disposable surgical face masks which will be through a care duty, along with disposable gloves and aprons which should be worn whenever needing to touch a client.  Face shields may also be worn.

At every care duty, staff are asked to record and confirm that they feel well and do not have any symptoms of Covid-19 and that they have practised the correct infection control procedures.  Staff are also asked to report immediately any client they visit is showing symptoms of Covid-19.

For any client with symptoms of Covid-19, or where they live with someone displaying symptoms, we will seek to find ways to help whilst avoiding contact that could lead to the spread amongst our staff and clients.  If possible, we will suspend care for the short isolation period or adapt working ways to avoid close contact.

Throughout the pandemic, we have managed staff levels well.  In the event of staff shortages, we will prioritise our attendance to those clients most in need of our support.  We do urge all clients to have a backup plan for this possibility and will maintain close communication with you.

Thank you to all our staff and clients for their support during this difficult time.  It is important to keep well and maintain high spirits.  If there is something concerning you or even if you just want a chat, please do call and we will seek to help you.

Getting started with Gardiner’s

When you make an enquiry to Gardiner’s, we record your contact details and other information that you share about your situation.  We will keep this information ready for when you decide to use our services.  It won’t be used for any other purpose or passed on to anyone else and will be securely disposed of after 1 year.

When you have read through this guide and are also happy with our Statement of Terms and Conditions including our charges, please call 0118 334 7474 to speak with us.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00.  Outside of these hours and on Bank Holidays, we operate an On-Call service via the same number.

When you call back to request Gardiner’s services, we will take details from you and check that we are able to meet your request.  Whilst this is being done, our office manager will liaise with you to organise invoicing arrangements and signing our Statement of Terms and Conditions.

Once we have confirmed that we are able to accommodate your care request we will call you back to request payment of the initial assessment fee and then book in the initial assessment.

A great deal of work is involved in setting up a new care package.  The initial assessment fee represents a part contribution towards this work.  This fee is credited against the cost of future care once the minimum number of hours care has been provided and paid for.  We will notify you once this point has been reached.

The initial assessment meeting will take place at your house.  We listen to you and seek to understand what your care needs are and how you would like us to help.  We will then document your care plan which should include all of the ways that you would like us to support you. We will need to ask questions to find out about you and your home to make sure we can safely provide the care you require.

There is a lot that we need to cover during an Initial Assessment and we welcome input from those who support you.  It really helps for you to think and talk about what care or support you might require in advance of this meeting.  We will also send to you a list of information to send to us before the meeting – doing this saves time during the assessment and helps us to prepare.

Managing your care

Every Service User at Gardiner’s has an appointed Care Manager to act as their first point of contact at Gardiner’s.  The Care Managers, Senior Care Workers and the rest of our office team work together to match your needs and preferred times to the most appropriate, regularly available team of Care Workers.

Care Workers use a mobile phone app called PASSsystem to view the agreed care plan and record the care that they provide.  This system allows for care plans to be changed quickly reflecting changing needs and preferences.  It is a secure and fully encrypted system where information is only available to Care Workers for 7 days before they visit you.

We will keep you informed about who is visiting and when by calling to speak with you or sending weekly rosters preferably by email rather than post.  You can also access current information about who is visiting, as well as care notes from previous visits, by using the openPASS app or website.

We use PASSsystem to monitor the arrival and departure of Care Workers.  If we have not received notification via the app that the Care Worker has arrived within half an hour of the expected start time we will receive an alert.  We will contact the Care Worker and possibly the Service User to establish the reason for the delay and whether the cover is required.

Your Care Manager, or a Senior Care Worker, will visit and speak with you regularly in order to review your care and see how well we are meeting your needs and preferences.  We will let you know in advance before we need to visit so that we can agree a time.  It can be helpful to have a family member to attend review meetings if they help to provide support to you.

Sometimes we need to visit to observe a Care Worker so we can satisfy ourselves about how well and how safely they do their job.

The arrival of your Care Worker

When your Care Worker arrives, they will be wearing Gardiner’s uniform and have a photo identification badge.  If you would prefer Care Workers not to wear uniform this is absolutely fine, please just ask – they should still carry their identity badge.  If this is the Care Worker’s first visit, please check that the name on the badge is who you are expecting and that the photograph is the same person that has arrived at your door – if in any doubt, please call the Gardiner’s office to check.

Access to your home – key safe

Some people find it difficult to answer the door, perhaps due to hearing or mobility problems.  We suggest that you use a key safe which is a small box fixed near to your front door.  The combination lock securely stores keys to allow access.  This will also benefit family members who will no longer need to carry a spare key.

The key safe combination can be used by Care Workers at every visit if you wish, or alternatively held by the office for use only in an emergency.  Care Workers are not allowed to hold or look after keys for Service User’s homes.

To organise a key safe, we suggest you contact Forestcare (01344786500).  Set up by Bracknell Council, they cover our area and supply police approved key safes.  In addition, if there is a problem, Forestcare will be there promptly to replace or repair.

Forestcare can also help with installing a monitored alarm system to detect smoke, carbon-monoxide, falls and much more.


If we are concerned about how you are able to move about in your home, we may ask that an Occupational Therapy assessment is completed.  Care Workers may only be able to provide help once recommended equipment is in place.  Although our Care Workers can assist with your mobility using safe techniques, they are unable to do any lifting, except when using the appropriate equipment.

Infection control

All staff receive infection control training.  They are given protective gloves and aprons to use when providing personal care.   Our care workers are asked to wash their hands upon arrival, before leaving and in between each care task.  Service Users should supply liquid soap for Care Workers to use to wash their hands rather than bars of soap and kitchen roll for drying hands.


We know that medication can sometimes be difficult to manage. Gardiner’s support Service Users to retain control over their own medication.  We can provide physical assistance perhaps to open a bottle or pop a blister, we can remind you to take your medication, or we can administer your medication for you.

Care Workers can only assist with medication in the original pharmacist filled container.  We can’t help with tablets left out or containers filled by a family member.  If Gardiner’s are asked to be responsible for medication we require that all old medication is returned to the pharmacist since this helps to avoid confusion.

Your home as a workplace

You are responsible for making sure that your home is a safe working environment with appropriate equipment to allow Care Workers to provide care safely.

  • There must be a clear route in and out of your home for use in an emergency.
  • Smoking is not allowed in your home whilst our Care Worker is present and for at least one hour before their visit.
  • Equipment required for care must be serviced and in good order.
  • Care Workers should only be required to use domestic equipment such as toasters, vacuums, cleaning products etc. that are safe to use.
  • Dogs must be shut in a separate room prior to the Care Worker’s arrival and during the Care Workers’ visit.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed and regularly tested.

Comments and complaints

Your feedback about our service is very important to us, it helps us to improve the service we provide.  We aim to work closely with you to provide your care in the way that you would like it to be done.  However, sometimes we may not get it right. If you have any comments or a complaint please let us know as soon as possible. Most issues can be resolved by talking to your Care Manager, please call 01183347474.

If you wish to make a formal complaint this can be made by speaking with or writing to your Care Manager or to Krista Hallett (Registered Manager).

Please call 01183347474, email [email protected] or write to our office address 10 Church Street, Caversham, Reading, RG4 8DZ.

We will provide you with a copy of the full complaints procedure before investigating your complaint and reporting back to you.

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of our investigation or how we have resolved your complaint, you can refer the issue to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (telephone no. 0300 061 0614).

Adult Safeguarding

Adult safeguarding means protecting people so they can live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.  If we have concerns, we will raise those concern with the local safeguarding team.

If you are experiencing abuse, or are worried about another adult you believe may be experiencing abuse, please call the local safeguarding team:

  • Reading 0118 937 3747
  • Oxfordshire 01865 328 232

The local safeguarding team will carry out a careful and sensitive enquiry. What happens next will depend on the wishes of the person concerned and the severity of their situation. They will offer information and advice so the person can make an informed choice about any practical help they need or action they wish to take. If they are unable to make an informed choice, care will be taken to support them in the best way possible.

If you or someone else is in danger call the Police on 999.

If it isn’t an emergency but a crime may have been committed call the Police on 101.

Data protection, confidentiality & privacy note

In order to provide care and support, Gardiner’s needs to use certain personal data about Service Users.  This information is used to maintain a personalised care plan.  It helps us to keep the Service User safe and to respond appropriately to any concerns.  The information we hold also allows us to monitor the quality of the service that we provide.  Without this information, Gardiner’s are not able to provide our service.

By requesting care and support from Gardiner’s, the Service User agrees to their information being shared and stored as described in this service user guide and in the terms.

The information that Gardiner’s hold about Service Users will include contact details, support needs, preferences, medical history and how this affects ability, funding arrangements, emergency contacts, details of others involved in care.  There will also be ongoing records documenting the provision of care, as well as reviews and management of the care package.

Gardiner’s will safeguard the personal data that we hold about Service Users, to ensure that it does not fall into the hands of unauthorised third parties.    We will only ask for information that is relevant and necessary for us to deliver our service.  Any personal information that we process must be accurate, adequate, relevant and not excessive, given the purpose for which it was obtained.   Individuals may ask us to correct inaccurate personal data.

Gardiner’s will not use the information we hold for any unconnected purpose unless the Service User has agreed to this or they would otherwise reasonably expect us to do so.  We will not send marketing information to the Service User or pass their details on to other companies.

We keep Service Users information confidential, with access limited to those from Gardiner’s who are currently involved in providing or managing the care.  We may on occasion need to share information or concerns with people outside of Gardiner’s, who are involved in a Service User’s care.  We ask permission before sharing information unless we are seriously concerned about the Service User’s safety or well-being.

Where Gardiner’s engages the service of a Data Processor, for example by using hosted services for computer software such as PASSsystem, we will have a contract in place to ensure that the information is secure, protected and meets the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Most information about Service Users is shared within our team using PASSsystem.  Information may also be discussed in person with Care Workers or by telephone, email, text message or secure messaging.

Prior to an inspection, we are required to pass Service User contact details to our regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  The CQC may contact the Service User to ask questions about how we run our service.  They will delete the Service User’s contact information once they have completed the inspection.

The Gardiner’s care folder kept in the Service User’s home belongs to Gardiner’s and must be returned when the service finishes.  All paperwork returned to the office is securely scanned before being sent for shredding.

Information gathered during the provision of our service will be securely retained for three years after the service finishes.  The Service User has, subject to certain exceptions, the right to request access to information held about them.  The Service User may also request that any information held about them is deleted, this will only be refused if a valid exemption applies.