Please read these Terms and Conditions (“Terms”) carefully as they contain important information about your legal rights, remedies and obligations. By accessing or using the hometouch Platform, you agree to comply with and be bound by these Terms.
Last Updated: 01/07/2019.
Thank you for using hometouch!
Definitions of terms:
When the following words with capital letters are used in these Terms, the definitions below will apply:
Account Manager: A Care Manager who is Your main point of contact as an existing Client for account related matters.
Audit: A process of data analysis, review and Continuous Quality Improvement that informs our policies, procedures and processes.
Bank Holiday: means a bank holiday in England and Wales, details of which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/bank-holidays.
Bank Holiday Rate: Our Bank Holiday rate is twice the non Bank Holiday Rate, unless agreed otherwise. You will be opted in to paying the bank holiday rate for any care sessions occurring on a Bank Holiday
Cancellation Policy: The rules and procedures concerning cancelled Care Sessions, paused and terminated contracts.
Care Advisors: Trained office based advisors who are Your first point of contact regarding provision of home care, accessible typically by phone and email.
Care Journal: A ledger of historical data collected via the Professional Carer’s Care Hub detailing the Care delivered by Professional Carers during Care Sessions.
Care Plan: A live and dynamic clinical document detailing the Personal Care needs and activities of the Care Recipient and tasks performed by Professional Carers. Under the Managed Model of Care the Care Plan is produced and updated collaboratively by the Professional Carer, family, Care Recipient and Nurse Manager. In the Introductory Model of Care, the Care Plan is produced and updated by Professional Carer, family and Care Recipient.
Care Rate: The amount to be paid on an hourly or daily basis for the delivery of a Care Session.
Care Provider: For the Managed Care Model of Care, the provider of care is hometouch, regulated by the Care Quality Commission.
Care Quality Commission (CQC): The Independent Regulator of Health and Social Care in England.
Care Recipient/s: The term We use to define the patient, service user, end user or individual receiving Care provided by Professional Carers.
Care Session: Any period of time where a Professional Carer is delivering care on behalf of a care recipient
Carer Onboarding: The process in which Professional Carers move through before becoming available to deliver Personal Care through the hometouch platform. This includes right to work, criminal and employment background checks.
Carer Profile: The online profile of each Professional Carer that exist in the Carer Library, detailing a short biography, clinical experience, interests, Disclosure and Barring Service Check and Client reviews.
Client: The person who manages the Care Recipient’s account. The Client may or may not be the same person as the Care Recipient.
Care Hub: The online portal that includes services such as Carer Library, Messaging, Care Plan, contracts, Care Journal, and Payments.
Client Onboarding: The process through which We assess Your care needs and how they might be served by hometouch. This typically involves a phone discussion with a Care Advisor followed by matching of care needs to Carer Profiles in the Carer Library. Under the Managed Model, Client Onboarding will involve an Initial Home Visit from a member of the hometouch clinical team to facilitate the creation a Care Plan.
Clinical Governance: The Policies and Procedures through which Our Registered Manager and other clinical professionals oversee and improve the provision of care.
Complaints Procedure: The manner in which You can make a complaint to Us and how we will process, investigate and respond.
Continuous Quality Improvement: The processes and activities that we engage to improve the quality and effectiveness of our service. For example, risk meetings, audit and feedback
Consent: The care recipient’s capacitous agreement to receive personal care (or other assistance) communicated via written, verbal or other readily understood method of communication.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: The legal framework that protects vulnerable individuals, who are typically non-capacitous, when they are confined to a single location such as a care home or Hospital.
Direct Payments: The funding mechanism provided by Local Authorities which permits Care Recipients an allocated budget for Personal Care
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check: A background criminal records check of the Adult and Children’s Barred lists that is a statutory vetting requirement.
Employment Business: Defined under the Employment Agencies Act 1973 as the business of supplying people in the employment of the person carrying on the business, to act for, and under the control of, other people in any capacity.
Daniel Loljee: Our Registered Manager
Fees: The Monies due to Us in return for the Services provided to You, that support the delivery of care through the hometouch platform.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): An up to date list of questions and answers that address common concerns and queries
Health and Safety Assessment: The assessment carried out in each home to ensure it is a safe working environment, safe for the Care Recipient and compliant with Health and Safety Legislation
HomeTouch Care Ltd: Our corporate entity which is responsible for two models of care with our registered Office at Unit M1, 40 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R 0NE.
Initial Home Visit: The welcome home visit carried out by our Nurse Manager to assess your care needs
Introductory Care Model: Our non-regulated business model. Under the Introductory Model of Care, Professional Carers provide Personal Care directly to Care Recipients without further involvement of hometouch in relation to care management. The provision of Care Plans, rotas and oversight are a collaboration between the Professional Carer, the Care Recipient and the family.
Key Lines of Enquiry (KLoE): The Framework used by the Care Quality Commission to inspect and regulate home care providers
Live in Care: The type of care where a Professional Carer resides on a temporary basis in the care recipient’s home for a 24 hour period.
Managed Care Model: The model of care whereby we act as the provider and HomeTouch employees work alongside the Professional Carer through the provision of regularly reviewed Care Plans and Risk Assessment, clinical support and Account Management.
Mandatory Training: The statutory and minimum requirements for training that Professional Carers delivering the Managed Care Model must satisfy. Mandatory Training is reviewed annually.
Medication Administration Record: The document on which Professional Carers record any medication provided to You as part of the Managed Care Model.
Mental Capacity: For the purposes of the Mental Capacity Act (2005), a person lacks capacity in relation to a matter if at the material time he is unable to make a decision for himself in relation to the matter because of an impairment of, or disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain.
NHS Continuing Healthcare: The funding mechanism provided by Clinical Commissioning Groups which permits Care Recipients an allocated budget for NHS Continuing Healthcare
Nominated Individual: Nominated individual means the person who is employed as a director, manager or secretary of a body and whose name has been notified to CQC as being the person who is responsible for supervising the management of the regulated activity by the CQC. Our Nominated Individual is Dr James Matthew Wilson.
Nurse Manager: The qualified Nurse who oversees Initial Home Visits, reviews Managed Care Plans and supports the Professional Carer to deliver Managed Care.
Personal Care: Provision of intimate and sensitive assistance in the Activities of Daily Living, ranging from but not confined to companionship to personal hygiene, washing and dressing and nutrition.
Personal Health Budgets: The funding mechanism provided by Clinical Commissioning Groups which permits Care Recipients an allocated budget for Personal Care and other support for a long term condition.
Power of Attorney: The legal role fulfilled by the nominee of the care recipient in relation to finances and health and welfare.
Professional Carers: The term we use to describe the self-employed carers providing Personal Care through the hometouch Platform.
Public Liability Insurance: Insurance that covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with business activities. Public liability insurance covers the cost of compensation for personal injuries and loss of or damage to property.
Registered Manager: The legal role fulfilled by Daniel Loljeefor the purposes of Our Registration with the Care Quality Commission
Regulated Activity: A service or provision of care that is subject to regulation by the Care Quality Commission
Risk Assessment: The process of identifying all the risks to and from an activity, and assessing the potential impact of each risk. The hometouch clinical team will create risk assessments as part of the Client Onboarding process for Managed care that outlines and monitors the clinical and other risks to the Care Recipient. The document is subject to regular to 3 monthly review. For the introductory model, risk assessments are the responsibility of the Professional Carer.
Safeguarding: Ensuring that people live free from harm, abuse and neglect and, in doing so, protecting their health, wellbeing and human rights. Children, and adults in vulnerable situations, need to be safeguarded. Further details can be accessed in Our Safeguarding Policy
Self-employed: Our Professional Carers are Self-Employed for tax purposes in accordance with advice and guidance We have received from employment experts, HMRC, the CQC and other regulatory bodies. All VAT is accounted for by hometouch accounting processes for both Introductory and Managed Models of Care.
Sensitive Personal Data: personal information about You and in particular Your racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature, membership of a trade union, medical or physical health or condition, sexuality or the commission or alleged commission of any offence, that is protected by the Data Protection Act 1998.
Service/s: The activities provided to you by Us and Professional Carers during the course of the contracted period, which include but are not limited to provision of Personal Care, Care Advice, Scheduling, Billing, Messaging, Care Journal, Care Plan, and Risk Assessment.
Schedule: The timings of Care Sessions agreed at the outset of the contract and modified in discussion with your Professional Carer. hometouch Care Managers will assist with scheduling for the Managed Care Model.
Statutory Breaks: Live-in carers are entitled to a 2 hour break in each 24 hours period. See Breaks further down these Terms and Conditions
Statutory Notification: The statutory requirements for Us to notify the regulator in the event of specific events or incidents. Us, We and Our: Meaning HomeTouch Care Ltd
You: A Client of hometouch.
1. General Terms of the hometouch Introductory Model of Care
1.1 About the hometouch Introductory Model of Care
hometouch’s Introductory Model of Care is classified as an ‘introductory agency’ in line with CQC guidance. hometouch provides an online platform and telephone advice from a Care Advisor to facilitate the process of finding a Professional Carer to support the delivery of home care. hometouch does not directly supply carers to care seekers, nor does it employ carers or act as a care agency when facilitating introductory care. In line with CQC regulations, hometouch is not permitted to make changes to the care plan, provide rotas or effect control over the delivery of care.
hometouch’s Introductory Model of Care utilises the online platform and Carer Library, allowing self-employed carers and care seekers to connect with one another, communicate and arrange care contracts. This is facilitated through providing services which include but are not limited to:
- Carer Library - A searchable online database of self-employed carers
- Care Hub Messaging - Communication tools allowing Professional Carers and Clients to interact with one another securely
- Care Hub Payments - An online payment system enabling transactions between self-employed carers and care seekers. Payments will only be processed for booked Care Sessions
- Care Journal – A report linked to each Care Session allowing the Professional Carer to record activity and events from the Care Session
- Feedback tools on care provision
1.2 Our Service to You
The hometouch Introductory Model covers the following:
- Assessment of Your care needs by Our Care Advisors via phone and email (if required)
- Usage of the hometouch Platform including the Carer Library, Care Hub messaging, Care Hub Payments
- Provision of Personal Care by a Professional Carers
- Real time updates on care provision via Our Care Journal
- Access to vetted Carer Library of Professional Carers and matching service
- Access to account management through email and live chat for account and billing enquiries
1.3 Definition of the Introductory agency servicehometouch is classified as an ‘introductory agency’ in line with CQC guidance. hometouch provides an online marketplace to facilitate the process of finding home care. hometouch does not directly supply carers to care seekers. hometouch does not employ carers, nor does hometouch act as an employment agency or care agency. In line with CQC regulations, hometouch is not permitted to make changes to the care plan, provide rotas or effect control over the delivery of care.
1.4 Limitations of serviceAll the tools provided by hometouch for the Introductory Care Model are used at the customer’s and self-employed carers’ own risk and there is no guarantee that these tools will work optimally, not be subject to downtime, or removed from service at any point in time. hometouch does not accept any liability for losses or damages caused by the temporary unavailability of the service or technical errors. hometouch disclaims any liability for controversies, losses, injury, accidents, claims or damages arising out of the use of the online tools it provides, the engagement of carers or the provision of care services by carers.
2. Rules for User conduct and use of service
2.1 Eligibility to use the site and services; representations and warranties
By registering and using this site you confirm that:
- You accept and will abide by our terms and conditions
- You are 18 years old or over and have the right to form legally binding contracts under UK law. Under the introductory model of care, the care contract is between a client and the carer, with the client therefore agreeing to meet all contractual obligations
- All the information provided by you on the site and to our advisors is correct and accurate, including any stated care requirements or specific needs. We reserve the right to support the withdrawal of care immediately should any information prove incorrect or inaccurate with the client liable for the statutory notice period
2.2 Permitted useYou are not permitted to use this website other than for the following, private, non-commercial purposes: (i) viewing this website and; (ii) sending genuine enquiries to carers regarding use of their services for your own or a care recipient's care needs (iii) making/reviewing/changing bookings; (iv) checking carer feedback and care plan completion (v) changing billing information and generating invoices where relevant and (vi) communicating with hometouch representatives by phone, email or live chat to arrange bookings or seek advice.
The use of automated systems, manual copying or software to extract data from this website or hometouch for commercial purposes, (‘screen scraping’) is prohibited unless the third party has directly concluded a written licence agreement with hometouch. Any breach of these terms renders the user liable for damages to be determined in the local jurisdiction.
3 Live-in Care Requirements
3.1 Live-in Care Facilities
Live-in Professional Carers have various legal rights which include (without limitation) the following: provision of a separate bedroom for them with suitable bathing and toilet facilities which are clean and in a good state of repair. Carers; require the provision of ample food and clean bedding as well as adequate cleaning materials and protective clothing to carry out the Service properly.
3.2 Live-in Break Provision
Live-in Professional Carers require a minimum 2 hours break per day. This time off must be within daylight hours. If agreed between the Client and the Professional Carer at the time of assessment some of these hours may be banked to provide longer periods of time off on fewer days, but the minimum provision must be 14 hours over a 7 day week.
Clients and Professional Carers should agree prior to the start of a contract any expense and / or travel arrangements. Carers are advised that they should understand feeding and travel arrangements prior to starting a contract but we advise that all parties understand arrangements.
4 hometouch Professional Carers
4.1 Carer selection
By registering and using hometouch as a person seeking care you agree that ultimately it is your responsibility to select an appropriate Professional Carer for yourself, your family member, any friend/associate or any other person you are acting for. hometouch can help you in the process of introducing and recommending carers, however hometouch will not select a carer for you and the final choice remains yours.
4.2 Code of conduct
You should not discriminate against a carer on the basis of skin colour, nationality, disability, gender or any other potential source of discrimination. In addition, you represent and warrant that you and each member of your household have never been the subject of a complaint, restraining order or any other legal action involved with being arrested for, charged with, or convicted of any criminal offence involving violence, abuse, neglect, theft or fraud, or any offence that involves endangering the safety of others, dishonesty, negligence or drugs, and are not nor have ever been on the sex offenders register or other similar list.
We reserve the right to support the withdrawal of care immediately should We learn of any discrimination against the Professional Carer with the client liable for the statutory notice period.
4.3 Vetting and background checking of carers
hometouch makes reasonable efforts to check the identity and information provided by carers. This includes visual checks of:
- Identity documents to confirm the right to live and work in the UK
- Stated qualifications and training certificates where available
- Existing DBS checks
hometouch will facilitate Clients to engage with carers either through the platform messaging tools or by a Care Advisor arranging an interview, but clients are also recommended to:
- Speak to the carer personally to understand whether they are the correct fit for Your care needs
- Verify a carers identity via photographic ID
- Requesting proof of experience, training, qualifications, authorisations and suitability for the Care Recipient needs
- Following up on references of carers
4.4 Insurance coverClients should ensure that their insurance covers carers working in their home and should verify whether carers have their own independent insurance cover.
4.5 Carer contract compliance
Once you have set up a contract and submitted it to a carer, you are bound by the terms of that contract. You must pay the upfront required monetary amount for the contract to be active. You must negotiate with the self-employed carer regarding any deviations from the contract terms, e.g. time off for holiday, illness or personal circumstances.
3 Fees and Billing
3.1 Billing Cycle
You will be billed at the beginning of each week, for the care that will be delivered in the following week, depending on your preferred payment method. Our current payment provider is Stripe and all credit and debit card information is held securely and is PCI compliant. On setting up a contract you will initially be billed for two weeks of care to synchronise with the payment cycle.
3.2 Bank Holiday Charges
hometouch will automatically apply a double charge to any Care Session occurring over a statutory bank holiday, as defined by the UK Government: https://www.gov.uk/bank-holidays
Contracts for work are made between the Client and the Professional Carer. By entering a contract as a Client you agree that you have the funds available to pay for the contract value. All payments for work completed must be made via your hometouch Care Hub; attempts to pay outside of the hometouch platform will lead to sanctions not limited to immediate account suspension. Any offers to pay outside of hometouch, made by either party, must be reported to hometouch immediately.
3.4 Carer Rates
Carer rates are set by the carer and may be subject to change. Rates should not be changed during a contract agreement. On speaking to a hometouch Care Advisor, a set package may be suggested which will outline the fee charged to the Client. These fees will supersede the stated rates of a Carer as shown in the Carer Library. Any change in rates that are made before the end of a contract must result in the termination of the current contract and a new contract must be agreed.
hometouch fees range from 20% - 30% (incl. VAT) of stated carers rates. This commission is already included in the rate stated on each carer’s profile in the hometouch Carer Library and in any rate quoted by a Care Advisor. hometouch reserves the right to alter the terms of its fee structure at any time.
VAT is included in the rate charged by the Professional Carers.
3.7 Direct Payments and Personal Budgets
If you are paying via Direct Payments or Personal Budgets, please call to speak to a Care Advisor. Payment must be made in advance of any care being provided. Payment by Direct Payments or Personal Budgets cannot be authorised unless we receive confirmation in writing from the relevant Local Authority or CCG.
4. Cancellations and Refunds
hometouch strongly discourages cancellations of contracts unless exceptional circumstances occur. Carers working through hometouch depend on predictable schedules and reliable income. Cancellations of contracts causes undue inconvenience to carers and provides no income protection to carers working through hometouch. It is therefore our policy that any Care Sessions cancelled within a 24 hour period prior to the Care Session commencing will be billed and paid to the carer. In exceptional circumstances and where both parties agree, hometouch will exercise its discretion to void payment in cases where cancellation has taken place within 24 hours of the contracted period and issue an account credit.
All cancellations must be submitted by email to both hometouch on firstname.lastname@example.org and the carer.
4.2 Account Credits and Refunds
For Care Sessions cancelled outside the 24 hour cut-off, hometouch will credit the fee for the cancelled Care Sessions to the Client's hometouch account. hometouch may, at its sole discretion, issue refunds when it believes they are warranted.
4.3 Termination of contract
In instances where an ongoing contract is in place, it is our policy that both carer and client must give two weeks' notice to terminate a contract to allow both parties to make alternative arrangements. If a Client cancels a contract within the 14 day notice period, hometouch reserves the right to retain collected funds in order to provide an element of income protection to the carer.
4.4 Our termination of the service
We may terminate this Agreement:
- By giving 14 days’ written notice for any reason
- After giving 14 days’ written notice that You have failed to pay the Fees
- After giving 7 days’ written notice that We are unable to meet Your needs
5. Disputes and Complaints
5.1 Release of liability for user conduct and disputes
Any agreements are legally binding agreements between the care seeker and the carer. Any issues should be resolved directly between care seeker and carer where at all possible. hometouch does not accept any liability for claims, demands or direct or indirect damages arising from disputes between care seekers and carers, hometouch are not party to an agreement but will attempt to arbitrate or mediate if there is an alleged breach of contract.
5.2 Dispute Arbitration
hometouch will attempt to arbitrate where there is a disagreement between a Client and a Professional Carer. Either Client or Professional Carer care seeker can dispute a contract. hometouch will examine the contract, compliance with terms, user analytics data including but not limited to visit logging, messaging, geoverification, user feedback and previous self-employed carer behaviour and any submissions by either party. hometouch reserves the right at its sole discretion to defer payment, reimburse or cease contractual payments at any time.
5.3 Disputed funds
hometouch offers no guarantee to either Client or self-employed carer that there will be either reimbursement or full payment in the event of dispute arbitration. hometouch will endeavour to come to an equitable outcome based upon the evidence available. Any disputes should be notified in writing within 1 (one) week of the disputed period.
5.4 Complaints Policy
hometouch takes all customer complaints seriously and is committed to learning from mistakes and improving our service for both current and future Clients, Care Recipients and Professional Carers.
If you have a complaint, please send via email to email@example.com as soon as to the related incident. We will normally respond within 48 hours (ie two business days). We will investigate any matter referred and take appropriate action where necessary. If you have concerns regarding the performance, behaviour or competence of a Professional Carer, we will investigate the matter and may take proportionate action ranging from verbal and written feedback to account suspension. We are unable to consider complaints any further than 1 (one) week after the alleged incident.
6. Limitation of liability
6.1 Responsibility for contract acceptance
While hometouch take every reasonable step to assure the suitability of a Professional Carer for your needs, you acknowledge that the decision to enter into a contract with a Professional carer is your sole responsibility. hometouch gives no warranty as to the suitability, experience, history or character of any Professional Carer, nor does hometouch give any warranty as to the completeness, truthfulness or accuracy of any information or documentation provided by the carer.
6.2 Risks of an introductory service
You agree that you understand the risks involved in participating in an introductory agency service and you hereby waive any rights to claims for damages from hometouch in relation to the service.
6.3 Breach of terms and conditions
You agree to indemnify and hold hometouch harmless from any claim or demand brought against hometouch as a result of you breaching these terms and conditions.
6.4 Liability cap
You acknowledge that hometouch’s total liability to you whether in respect of goods or services and whether based in negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation or otherwise shall not exceed the value of the total commission income hometouch derived from you via the hometouch Introductory model.
7. Quality assurance and background checks
By using this site or service you authorise hometouch to carry out any relevant background checks and audits at a time of their choosing. hometouch reserves the right but not the obligation to use a third party to scan your personal information on an ongoing basis against a variety of sources which may include, but are not limited to; credit checking, sex offender registries, social media, criminal registries and other legally available databases and resources. hometouch has no obligation to perform checks and releases all liability associated with result from checks.
8. Feedback and customer reviews
You will be asked to leave qualitative and quantitative feedback on your care experience. The feedback will affect each carer’s ranking in the Carer Library. Feedback should be provided honestly and you must not attempt to falsify, manipulate or coerce a carer by threatening negative feedback. Any attempts of a carer trying to influence you in our feedback or trying to change your opinion unduly should be reported to us. We reserve the right to remove any defamatory, abusive or offensive feedback at our discretion but are not obliged to do so. You agree to providing an exclusive and perpetual right for hometouch to publish these reviews.
9. Contractual Obligations
By using any hometouch service you agree to use the service for all current and future work that takes place as a result of an introduction made through hometouch, the Platform and the Carer Library. You must not create contractual agreements outside this service with carers introduced to you through hometouch, with the deliberate intention of avoiding hometouch fees. Any severe offences will result in but are not limited to the immediate termination of a care seeker’s profile.
10. Safeguarding Policy
hometouch takes the safety of all parties using the hometouch introductory service extremely seriously and complies with all relevant legislation including the Care Act 2010, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults Act. In instances where we deem a "vulnerable" adult is at risk of exploitation or any type of harm and we have received evidence to indicate this the case, we will comply with this legislation and refer the relevant parties to the nearest Local Authority's Adult Safeguarding Team. Although the hometouch introductory model does not directly provide care, we take our duties as a responsible organisation seriously and will endeavour to ensure a duty of care to all participants on the platform.
hometouch carries out a risk assessment on all Care Recipients of the platform based on a combination of telephone triage, written communications, medical history, oral assessment of mental capacity and feedback from Professional Carer visits. In instances where there is evidence to suggest that a Care Recipient may not be able to safely and competently receive carer from Professional Carer sourced through the hometouch Introductory model, hometouch reserves the right at its absolute discretion to cease any facilitation of care and limit access to the platform on temporary or permanent basis.
12. Governing Law
The terms and conditions and any dispute arising out of the site and/or the services shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. The courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with these terms and conditions or in connection with this site and/ or service.
13. Contact Information:
If you have any questions about the terms and conditions or the services provided by hometouch please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org