As we age we start to face the challenges that later life brings - deteriorating health, issues with mobility, loneliness and isolation and the impact of conditions that affect older people including dementia and Parkinson’s. You may have been getting support from a family member or friend, but your needs are increasing and higher levels of care and support is required, more frequently. Now may be the time to think about finding a carer to help you with your daily care needs.
Considering care at home
When you are researching how to get a carer there are some things you need to consider first. It is prudent before you contact private care agencies to really think about what your needs are – not just your care needs, but how you wish to live your life and what is important to you.
Some questions you may ask yourself might be:
- Do I need more support at certain times of the day?
- What days of the week do I need a private carer?
- Would I benefit from a live-in care arrangement from a private carer?
- Do I need any specific support to address complex needs?
- Do I need a permanent arrangement or would a respite service suffice from a private carer?
- What support do I really need throughout the day?
- How do I find a private carer that can help me improve my independence?
- What activities can a private carer support me with?
When you have defined your needs, you may wish to discuss this with your family for their input and to support you with your decision making. Answers to the above questions will help you decide the type of care you need.
Your care options
When you are looking at choosing a private carer, there are essentially three options on how to find a private carer.
Option 1 – Hire a private carer independently
The first option is to find and employ your own private carer or ask your family to do this on your behalf. Whilst this option enables you to choose the most suitable carer from a potentially large pool of candidates, it comes with responsibility. You will be an employer and the carer, will be your employee and is entitled to protection under Employers Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance, a written employment contract, statutory sick pay and holiday pay. In addition, you will be responsible for the whole care arrangement for example paying the carer (and their tax/national insurance) and organising holiday cover. You will also be prudent to conduct your own background checks on the successful candidate through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). All of this responsibility can become time consuming for you or your family to manage.
Option 2 - Hiring a private carer through an introduction service
There are plenty of agencies who provide private carers to those considering how to get a carer. They offer an introduction service, whereby they introduce you to a suitable private carer for a one-off introduction fee. You are then responsible for the carer as you would be if you had hired them independently, which again can be a burden on your time.
The benefit of using an introduction agency as opposed to hiring one independently is that the carers are vetted and deemed suitable by the introduction agency. They are also typically registered as self-employed and therefore they take care of their own tax and national insurance.
Option 3 - Engaging a fully managed service provider
The most flexible, straightforward and safest option is to engage a fully managed care service provider. These are generally reputable companies who employ their carers directly and will train them before they come to care for you. With this arrangement you pay a weekly fee for your care and they pay, manage and supervise the carer to ensure high levels of care are provided. A fully managed service provider offers many families peace of mind and reassurance, whilst significantly reducing the burden of managing the care arrangement themselves. A fully managed service provider is likely to be registered with the health and social care regulator – the Care Quality Commission in England and the Scottish Care Inspectorate in Scotland. They regularly inspect their service to ensure they are meeting the high standards of care you should expect.
How to get private carer - benefits of a fully managed service provider
Employed professional carers
There are many reassuring benefits to using a fully managed service. As a fully managed service, The Good Care Group directly employs its professional carers – we never use home care agency staff. All carers go through a robust and rigorous recruitment process and are trained to the highest level before they are placed with a client. Uniquely, we are the only live-in care provider to use a situational judgement test during the recruitment process to ensure those we hire have the aptitude to deliver the high-quality care our clients should expect. You will be supported by a dedicated regional manager and a care manager, with support from a central service centre. Our managers only look after a small portfolio of clients, which means you and our care teams get unrivalled levels of support.
A regulated and inspected service drives quality
The Good Care Group is a regulated service, which means the quality of its care is regulated by The Care Quality Commission (CQC), something introduction home care agencies are not. As a family, choosing a home care agency you cannot be assured of the quality of the service the carer you are introduced to will provide. We are proud to be the only dedicated live-in care provider in the UK to have achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating in all five areas in our last inspection. Read our CQC report here.
We are completely accountable for the care we provide, which eliminates worry and provides reassurance to families that their loved one is in safe hands and receiving the best care. Our award-winning care trusted by families across the country has seen us win year-on-year more care industry awards than any other home care provider, including four dementia accolades recognising our approach to delivering outstanding dementia care.
Taking the worry away from family members
Once an introduction agency introduces a carer to you and you pay the one-off charge to them for that service, that is typically the end of their involvement in the arrangement. Families are then required to supervise, manage and organise all aspects of the care for their loved one, which for most is time consuming, frustrating and sometimes unmanageable. Most people who require long term care will need a team of two carers to provide the support they need. This means you will be responsible for managing a rota, paying the carer and organising sickness and holiday cover as well as directing the care. Carers introduced through an introductory agency are self-employed and have not necessarily had any training before being placed with a client.
With a fully managed and regulated service all these worries are simply taken away and you have all the reassurance you need about the quality of care being provided and the level of service you will receive – making life easier for all the family.
"The arrival of The Good Care Group’s carers in our relative’s life has changed it dramatically for the better. Previously up to 19 well-intentioned, but pressured carers from a home care agency, had arrived over the course of a fortnight to help support her recovery, leaving her stressed and concerned by all the changes. With The Good Care Group’s calm, competent, and friendly carers providing live-in care, our relatives’ life has been transformed. There seems to be nothing they will not do for her, including travelling 50 miles with her to a special concert, finding someone to do alterations to clothing, re-varnishing a table – all on top of making sure our relative is cared for in every way. We can relax too, knowing that someone we care deeply about is safe and happy again."
How to get a carer - what budget do I need?
IIt is sensible when thinking about how to get a carer that you consider what budget you have available as this will impact the level of service you could expect. When considering what you or your family could pay towards a private carer, it is worth exploring how you can fund the care you need (called self-funding care), or whether you can get any local authority support, or any healthcare funding. This will help you make an informed choice about how to get a carer.