Why the offside rule is important to the 89-year-old I support: my life as a home care worker

By Miranda Okon, home care worker from London

Featured article – 15 October 2015

Photo of Miranda Okon

I sat on the committee that wrote the home care guideline that was recently published. We all hope that everyone involved in home care will use the guideline so that older people’s lives are improved, in their own home. The NICE guideline looks at the aspirations, goals and priorities of each person that people like me care for.

Why was I on the committee? Well, I thought it would be valuable to have the input of a home care worker like myself. The role of a home care worker is a valuable one to many older people and their families.


I think that it’s really important that the guideline is evidence-based. It suggests that often older people would like care in their own homes. It also shows that home care workers are a valuable resource.

We want to see the service user becoming independent – as much as possible – they can also retain their dignity and be offered respect. Regular training and development for staff is also important: not only will it lead to a more skilled workforce, but may even help to retain staff by giving them a better defined career path.

The offside rule

We want to communicate well with the people we visit. I support an 89 year-old lady who is a football fanatic. I bring her the paper and she goes straight to the back page. She can fully explain the offside rule better than anybody I know.

I see three or four people a day and help them with things such as doing their laundry or shopping, cooking meals, or helping them to wash. I also make sure I have time to chat to them as I might be the only person they see that day. I do get the chance to perform personal care, plus some laundry, shopping, offering medication or putting people to bed. Taking the time to offer them their breakfast, lunch or supper. You have to make sure that people are eating adequately.

Quick visits

Visits of less than half an hour are not allowed where I work and this makes sure I am able to do everything I need to, for each person, without rushing. But this isn’t happening everywhere and if workers are in a situation where they have to choose which task to do before they have to rush out of the door, this isn’t acceptable. Home care workers deserve proper recognition and support to do their jobs well and vital to this is giving them enough.

The guideline can help the people we visit to be in control of their lives and to get the right care. That’s a great feeling and makes my involvement on the guideline committee really worthwhile.

The guideline is the first to be developed on behalf of NICE by the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care (NCCSC), a partnership led by SCIE.