Care Professionals: Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled these FAQs from regular enquiries to our Referrals and Care Teams. If you can’t find an answer to the question you’re looking for, please call us on 0203 195 0151 or email enquiries@choicecaregroup.com.

Our Services
What care packages does Choice Care provide?

Choice Care provides a comprehensive range of services from high acuity residential care to more flexible supported living solutions. We offer expertise across a wide range of complex needs and specialist conditions, including caring for people with behaviours that challenge. You can find out more on the Care Services page.

Which counties do you operate in?

We operate residential and supported living services across the South, South West and West Midlands; specifically in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Midlands, West Sussex, and Wiltshire.


How can I find my nearest Choice Care service?

You can search for your nearest Choice Care services on the Find a Service page.

How can I find out about current vacancies?

You can search for current vacancies on the Service Vacancies page. On this page you can also register to receive a weekly vacancy update by email.

Does Choice Care provide secure facilities?

No, we do not provide secure or forensic inpatient services.

Does Choice Care provide children’s services?

Choice Care provides services for adults over 18. However, we can consider individuals from 16 years of age under certain circumstances, if we have a suitable vacancy.

Our Homes
What residential care services does Choice Care provide?

We provide high quality, personalised care and support for people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health conditions and associated complex needs at over 60 residential homes across the South, South West and West Midlands; specifically in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Wiltshire. Each property is a distinct community of 4-13 people of differing ages with similar care requirements, mixed or single-sex. You can learn more on the Residential Care page.

What facilities do your homes provide?

Our homes provide a safe, supportive environment with 24-hour support and specialist care. They offer private furnished bedrooms (usually ensuite), communal kitchens and lounges (often including a designated ‘quiet’ lounge) with sofas, TVs, games consoles, computers and internet access, and gardens or other outdoor space. As appropriate, also homes incorporate a variety of supporting assistive technologies.

All our homes have a Day Activity Coordinator who develops personalised activity programmes; there are also games and hobby and sports equipment for residents to use. Residents have access to a range of local community leisure and entertainment facilities, as well as support into education, voluntary or paid work. We provide transport for out-of-home activities and regular outings and trips.

How many people live in each home?

We provide a variety of accommodation types. Typically our homes support 4-13 people with similar care requirements.

Does Choice Care provide single-sex accommodation?

Yes, a number of our homes are single-sex, for male or female residents. You can find out more about homes in your area on the Find a Service page.

What is the ratio of staff to residents?

Typically, the core background ratio is one staff member for every three people, although this does differ from setting to setting. Any one-to-one (or two-to-one) hours that an individual is provided are in addition to this. Most homes also have two waking night staff.

What is a residential annex?

A number of our homes incorporate residential annexes designed for those with complex conditions who can benefit from residential living but find a shared environment challenging. These self-contained studios, adjacent to a main property, offer privacy and personal space, and are an innovative solution to managing some of the behavioural and risk issues presented by the people we support. Annexes feature a variety of specialised equipment and assistive technologies to promote independence and reduce dependency on staff.

Supported Living
What supported living services does Choice Care provide?

We provide flexible, individually-tailored packages of care for people with mild to severe learning disabilities, autism, mental health conditions and associated complex needs throughout each of the counties we operate; specifically Berkshire, Buckinghamshire Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Wiltshire and the West Midlands. Services range from a few support hours a day to help people with independent living skills and access to resources in the community, to full-time, 24-7 specialist care. Find out more by visiting the Supported Living page.

Do you partner with particular housing providers

We work closely with a number of registered housing providers, and actively seek new relationships with organisations that share our values and person-centred approach. Our working relationship with each partner is based on a formal Service Level Agreement that sets out the responsibilities and standards for each partner, including maintenance and repairs, health and safety regulations and communications protocols. You can find out more about our partnerships by visiting the Working with Housing Providers page.

Complex Needs Supported
Which conditions does Choice Care provide support for?

We support people with a wide range of learning disabilities, autism, mental health conditions and associated complex needs. You can find a full list of the conditions we support on the People We Support page.

Do you support people with behaviours that challenge?

Yes, we support people with a wide range of complex needs, including those with conditions that challenge. Our Positive Behaviour Support Team takes a flexible, person-centred approach to reducing challenging behaviour. We focus on understanding the reasons for the behaviour, altering the situation if necessary and encouraging more appropriate methods of communication. You can find a full list of the conditions we support on the People We Support page.

Does Choice Care support people with acquired brain injuries?

Yes, although we don’t operate homes dedicated to acquired brain injury, we have experience in supporting people with an ABI. Our offer of care and support depends on how the injury affects the individual on a daily basis and the fit with the other people we support in any particular service. We would suggest a suitable solution following assessment.

Referrals and Assessment
How do I make a referral?

To make a referral, please call 0203 195 0151, email referrals@choicecaregroup.com or visit the Referrals page.

What is your referral process?

We accept referrals from a wide variety of sources, including placement breakdowns, Special Education Needs schools, residential colleges, community support units and individuals looking to leave the family home for the first time. 

All referrals enquiries are managed by our experienced Referrals Team. A Referrals Manager will be responsible for arranging and conducting an assessment to identify if a suitable placement is possible. 

To find our more, or make a referral, please call 0203 195 0151, email referrals@choicecaregroup.com or visit the Referrals page.

What if the referral is an emergency?

We’re able to offer emergency placements, often completing an assessment on the same day as an enquiry is received, while still ensuring the placement is entirely suitable and staff are able to provide the most appropriate support. To find our more, or make a referral, please call 0203 195 0151, email referrals@choicecaregroup.com or visit the Referrals page.

What is your assessment process?

Our assessment process is designed to ensure we can offer a placement where the person we’ll be supporting can achieve the most positive outcomes. In each case, we look at the whole person, considering their needs, abilities and personality, to determine their suitability for a particular home or service. The aim is to ensure we can support them to achieve as much as possible, while leading a safe, happy and fulfilled life.

When we receive an enquiry, we review the individual’s care requirements to ensure we are able to provide appropriate support. If this is the case, the enquiry is passed to our Referrals Team, who arrange to meet the individual, their family, care professional and current support staff, to complete a detailed assessment. During the assessment, we take into account everyone’s views, listen to the individual’s preferences, and then match their needs to the vacancies we have in our homes.

If a suitable placement is available, we arrange a visit to allow a chance to view the home, meet the Service Manager and the staff and some of the other residents is appropriate. This can sometimes involve multiple visits and options.

If the placement is considered suitable, we provide a fully-costed assessment to the funding authority for approval.

What is the transition process for new service users?

With a placement agreed, we develop a tailored Transition Plan to support the person’s move into their new home. The Referrals Manager is responsible for overseeing the process. Initially, they will organise a Transition Meeting where the individual, their family, the social worker and the manager of the home can plan the move together, including agreeing how many interim visits the new resident will need to get to know and feel comfortable with staff, whether they would benefit from overnight visits before moving in, whether the staff need any new training and whether any adaptations need to be made to the home environment. The Transition Plan is reviewed throughout the transition period and can be amended if required.

Care and Support
What is your care model?

We operate a values-based social care model, with individualised support tailored, in-part, by our in house Positive Behavioural Support Team. We base our model on the achievement of individual outcomes. This individualised support focuses on assisting those we care for in developing their independence and accessing the community.

How frequently are care plans reviewed and updated?

Individual care requirements are reviewed on an ongoing basis, with any changes discussed at team meetings. A formal review involving the individual’s circle of support is completed annually.

What evidence do you have of delivering positive outcomes for those you support?

Delivering successful outcomes is at the heart of what we do. Choice Care is at the forefront of national best practice with among the highest CQC ratings of any comparable organisation in the country. We monitor individual behavioural, emotional and psychological needs, and work closely with health and social care professionals, the people we support and their families, to create personalised care plans with achievable goals, so everyone gets the support they need to progress at their own pace.

A recent organisation-wide assessment indicated that 85% of the people we support with learning disabilities, and 90% of those with mental health conditions, had shown improvement, or remained at an improved level as measured at their last review.

As part of our most recent Quality Assessment Review, 90% of care professionals with experience of the organisation said they believe Choice is effective in achieving positive outcomes and a good quality of life for those we support.

What evidence can you provide that you treat the people you support with dignity and respect?

We treat everyone we support with dignity and respect, helping them to lead meaningful, happy, fulfilled lives, regardless of their challenges, respecting personal choice and independence.

Each year, to canvas the views of key stakeholders, we conduct an annual survey of the people we support, their relatives, our colleagues and care professionals. In our 2019 report, over 1600 anonymous questionnaires were completed. From the results, 87% of the people we support say staff are kind and respectful, while 96% of care professionals confirmed that in their experience people are always treated with dignity and respect.

Do you have a Positive Behaviour Support team in house?

Yes, Choice Care was one of the first UK care providers to introduce a Positive Behaviour Support Team. Today, PBS is fully integrated into all aspects of our approach. Our PBS team is structured on a regional basis, working closely with our residential staff to monitor the behavioural, emotional and psychological needs of those we care for. This allows them to assess and intervene rapidly with individual guidance designed to help staff respond in the most appropriate way to improve quality of life, reduce distress and ensure each individual has the support that best meets their needs. PBS also forms an important part of staff learning and development, and the team is deeply involved in our training programmes.

How do you incorporate assistive technologies into your care plans?

We incorporate a range of assistive personal technologies to support people’s safety, privacy and independence, from smart sensors to adapted mobile phones. To learn more, visit the Specialist Approaches page.

Can you provide a pathway for those in residential care to move on to supported living?

Yes, we provide a comprehensive range of services from high acuity residential care to more flexible supported living solutions and have a proven track record of helping those who are able to move on from a residential environment to a more independent lifestyle as their needs evolve.

A consistent approach, emphasising choice and independence, ensures we can transfer our high quality residential standards to the supported living model, as complementary capabilities.

Safeguarding and Quality Assurance
How do you assure quality governance and safeguarding?

Quality of care, good governance and the delivery of successful outcomes are central to our purpose and embedded in the ethos of the organisation. Our care & safety standards exceed statutory requirements and are underpinned by rigorous internal and independent audit processes.

We apply a structured framework for quality control that starts with individual services. Experienced Managers oversee qualified care teams following consistent quality procedures. The performance of each service is regularly monitored by Regional Directors and our Quality Team, reporting directly to senior management. Independent inspection and our annual Quality Assurance Review provide an objective assessment of progress and improvement. Find out more by visiting the Quality Standards page.

Who is responsible for quality in your organisation?

Quality is the responsibility of our Quality Team, led by Martin Prescott, Director of Quality.

How do you support the rights to privacy of the people you support?

The people we support have a right to privacy and our staff respect this right at all times. Our Privacy Policy outlines how we protect the privacy of those we support in terms of private space, CCTV and recordings, and the confidentiality of sensitive information.

How do you measure the progress of the people you support?

Delivering successful outcomes is at the heart of our business. We monitor individual behavioural, emotional and psychological needs, and work closely with health and social care professionals, the people we support and their families, to ensure we provide the appropriate level of care at all times. Specifically, we use Department of Health recognised measurement tools such as Recovery Star. You can find out more on the Positive Outcomes page.

Staff
How many people do you employ?

We currently employ approximately 2,200 people, including bank staff.

How do you support staff training and development?

To ensure the quality of our services, we provide a wide range of industry-leading learning and development programmes for all our colleagues on an ongoing basis, combining mandatory courses with specialist training specific to the individual needs of those in their care.

Training begins with a comprehensive induction programme. Our induction process is recognised as one of the best in the industry and rated highly by nearly 90% our colleagues who’ve completed it.

Throughout their time at Choice, our people continue to develop their skills. Ongoing training and professional development combines e-learning, formal training, workshops and work-based learning; a flexible, modular programme that offers the opportunity to build expertise across 20+ specialisms. We also offer the chance to complete nationally-recognised vocational qualifications, including Health & Social Care Level 3 and Level 5 QCF Diplomas.

We’re committed to supporting all our colleagues in achieving their full potential. The Choice Care Academy offers a pathway from frontline skills to management to help everyone in our team develop and progress.

Healthcare and Medical Support
Does Choice Care provide medical or nursing services?

No. Where an individual has specific healthcare requirements, these are provided through local healthcare services.

How does Choice Care ensure the general health and wellbeing of the people you support?

We develop individually tailored Health Action Plans for everyone we support, covering all aspects of healthcare. Everyone has their own plan, and staff ensure that all appropriate health checks are completed as required. We work closely with local healthcare authorities and a variety of healthcare professionals to ensure the healthcare needs of all those we support are met, including managing medical appointments, and regular medical and dental check-ups. We also work with speech and language therapists, professional physios, psychiatrists as well as our own internal Positive Behaviour Support Team. Where appropriate, our service managers can provide support with making referrals to other health services.

Personal care plans provide guidance on exercise and diet. Where appropriate, individuals are encouraged to get involved in preparing meals to help build knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating.

Leisure
What facilities for leisure and entertainment does Choice Care provide?

In every Choice Care home, we provide a wide range of engaging and meaningful activities, tailored to individual capabilities. Each home has a Day Activity Coordinator who develops personalised activity schedules to help build skills and confidence. There are also lots of group activities to get involved in, from sports and leisure and social events, to projects and competitions and regular outings and trips.

During down time, homes have communal lounges with sofas, TVs, games consoles, computers and internet access. There are games and hobby and sports equipment for residents to use. Residents also have access to a variety of community-based leisure and entertainment facilities, including local shops, sports and leisure centres, cinema, community organisations and volunteering groups, pubs, clubs and restaurants, as well as the opportunity for religious worship. You can find out more by visiting the Activities & Events page.

Do you provide assisted holidays for those in your residential homes?

Yes, in the last year over two-thirds of the people we support enjoyed short break or holiday in the UK or abroad supported by Choice Care staff.

Education and Work
Does Choice Care provide special needs education services?

No, Choice Care is not an education provider.

Do you provide access to education and vocational training?

Yes, all our homes have an Activities Coordinator who develops personal education plans for those we support. Activities range from help with basic literacy and numeracy to computing, money management and general life skills to improve employability. Many of our homes and services work closely with local education facilities and around a quarter of those we support attend school or college courses. You can learn more on the Educational & Vocational Support page.

Do you help the people you support into work?

Yes, our relationships with local community colleges, employment agencies and businesses mean we can help individuals build skills and confidence, and provide a pathway into employment, both voluntary and paid. You can learn more on the Educational & Vocational Support page.

Working with Care Professionals
How do you partner with commissioning organisations?

We recognise our stakeholders face many challenges, and work closely with them to develop innovative and cost effective solutions to current and future needs. We are flexible, proactive partners, communicating regularly and responding rapidly to all enquiries. We frequently find solutions where other providers are unable or unwilling to offer appropriate or timely support.

As a responsive provider, we aim to evolve alongside the changing needs of stakeholders. We work closely with local authorities and healthcare services, attending forums in areas where we are established or seeking to develop our presence and meeting regularly with key stakeholders to identify trends and forward-plan future requirements, developing and configuring new services in anticipation of local demand.

We’re committed to exploring more collaborative solutions in response to accelerating demand across the complex needs sector. We’re collaborating in the Transforming Care agenda in a number of the areas where we operate, working with our peers to promote efficiencies in assessment and placements.

We are also conscious of the financial pressures facing many of our stakeholders. Our commercial team look for responsible measures to manage cost. We consistently evaluate individual Care Needs Assessments to ensure that people are supported at the appropriate level, which can involve reducing or increasing support levels which then is reflected in costs.

We’re open and transparent in our pricing models and never seek to fill a bed if a more appropriate alternative can be found.

How do you plan for new services?

We work closely with local authorities and healthcare services in the areas where we operate, meeting regularly to identify trends and analyse future requirements, developing and configuring new services in anticipation of local demand.

When designing new homes, our key priority is always to meet the needs of those who will live in them. We involve occupational therapists and other professional colleagues when considering aspects such as location, facilities, access, specialist aids and equipment and staffing requirements.

What is your cost model?

Each placement is calculated as ‘core cost’ plus individual one-to-one support requirements. Core costs vary by home or service as a result of location and the facilities provided. During the assessment process, our Referrals Managers will establish with you the hours of support needed; taking this into account, additional costs will be added to the core cost to reach a final total.

About Choice Care
How long has Choice Care been providing specialist care?

We have been providing specialist care for over 25 years. Choice Care began delivering services to people with learning disabilities and complex needs in 1992. 

Is Choice Care a charity?

No. Choice Care - Community Homes Of Intensive Care and Education (CHOICE) Limited - is a privately owned company.

Who owns Choice Care?

Our parent company is iCON Infrastructure. iCON is an independent investment group with an established track record of successful investments in high quality national infrastructure assets. iCON is committed to supporting Choice Care in an ongoing programme of development, ensuring we can provide much needed homes and services for vulnerable adults in the areas where we operate.

What is the Choice Care Group?

Choice Care Group is a trading name of Community Homes Of Intensive Care and Education (CHOICE) Limited.

How do I contact Choice Care?

If you’d like to get in touch, or have a specific enquiry you can contact our Central Office on 0203 195 0151 or at enquiries@choicecaregroup.com. You can find further details on the Contact Us page.

What is your whistleblowing process?

We welcome and value all information that helps us ensure the safety and welfare of the people we support, and aim to make it as simple as possible for anyone to raise concerns. You can contact us confidentially on 07990 772469 or 07904 527674 or by emailing to whistleblowing@choicecaregroup.com. You can find out more about our whistleblowing process on the Reporting Concerns page.

What is your complaints process?

You can learn about our Complaints Policy and how to report concerns on the Reporting Concerns page. We welcome all complaints as an opportunity to learn, adapt, improve and provide better services.

Who do I contact if I’m interested in selling a care business?

If you’re looking to sell your business in any of our preferred locations, we’re ready to speak to existing specialist providers with a proven track record for high quality care. Please contact:

Phil Just, Development Manager

phil.just@choicecaregroup.com

0203 1950105 / 07561 098720

Who do I contact if I own land suitable for developing a new residential home?

If you own land for development or a property suitable for conversion in any of our preferred locations, please contact:

Phil Just, Development Manager

phil.just@choicecaregroup.com

0203 1950105 / 07561 098720

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