Good Care Group | How to find a reliable carer

How to find a reliable carer

As we age, we start to face the challenges that later life brings. Deteriorating health, mobility issues and the impact of conditions like dementia will reduce independence. You may have been getting support from a family member. However, your needs may be increasing, and more care and support is required, more frequently. Now may be the time to think about how to find a carer to give you the support you or your loved one the support they need.

Finding a reliable and trustworthy carer can be a complicated process. There are different options available to you. You can employ a carer privately, hire a carer through an introduction agency or use a fully managed service provider. Here we explore these options available to you. This will help you and your family make an informed decision.

how-find-reliable-carer

Why a person might need care at home

As a family member looking after a loved one you may be facing the fact that they are not coping alone. You may be having to provide more and more support. This may be putting a strain on your own life. It is possible to stay at home with a home care service to avoid a move into a care home. Even if you are living with a condition like dementia or other complex care needs, you can stay at home and remain independent with the right support.

Typical daily tasks that your loved one might be struggling with alone include:

  • Washing and dressing
  • Mobility around the home
  • Getting out and about
  • Taking medication when required
  • Problems with memory, including dementia
  • Complex health problems
  • Socialisation and attending activities/appointments
  • Housework and laundry
  • Planning and cooking meals

Benefits of finding a reliable home carer

When thinking about how to find a reliable home carer, it is worth considering the benefits of care at home. Having care at home means you do not need to leave your home and move into a care home.

  • One-to-one care, tailored to you
  • Stay in the comfort and familiarity of your own home
  • Complex needs can be supported by trained and competent private carer
  • Continuity and consistency of care from same care team
  • Improved health outcomes – fewer falls, lower rates of infection and hospital admissions
  • Safest type of nursing care during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Family can be around you 24 hours a day
  • Comparable costs to care in a quality nursing home – very cost effective for couples
  • Live life your way with choice and independence
  • Estate remains with the family

What are the different types of care at home options?

When considering care at home options it is important to understand the types of services available. This will enable you and your family to make the right decision for you.

Live-in care

Live-in care is when a carer comes and lives in your loved ones’ home to provide the care and support needed. Care is provided on a one-to-one basis, 24 hours a day.  A well-matched and trained carer will provide help with day-to-day tasks so you can live with independence and quality of life. This means you do not need to move into a care home to get around-the-clock care. It is most suitable for those with specialist care needs where higher levels of dedicated support is needed.

Hourly care

Hourly care or visiting care is generally provided by a domiciliary care agency. Sometimes, this is referred to as domiciliary care.  This is when a carer visits you at home to provide the support you need. You can have one visit to many visits throughout the day. This could be once or several times a week depending on your needs.

Respite care

Respite care at home is a short-term care arrangement, usually provided for a minimum of two weeks. It is a flexible arrangement that allows for series respite bookings to be made. It means a family carer can take a much-needed break from their caring responsibilities. Respite care also allows you to try care at home for the first time. This allows you to understand if a permanent, live-in care arrangement would meet needs over the longer term.

Overnight care

Overnight care as the name suggests is care at home provided during the night. There are several reasons why a person would require overnight care. This may include help with toileting, support with medications and mobilising in bed.  Some older people feel uncomfortable being alone at night. As a family member you want to know your loved one is safe during the night. With overnight care you can have peace of mind.

No matter what type of care at home you decide is best for you, a reliable carer will provide support with tasks of daily living, including:

  • Personal care
  • Support with mobility
  • Companionship
  • Planning and cooking meals
  • Shopping
  • Support with socialising and activities in and out of the home
  • Household tasks, including light gardening
  • Attending appointments
  • Trips out in the community

Getting an assessment of needs

It is worth starting by getting a care needs assessment for your loved one by contacting your local social services team. This will determine what support could be available for your loved one to help with everyday tasks.  It will consider physical, emotional and social care needs. Once an assessment has been completed a care plan can be created.  This is the document that can be used to determine what care options are best for your loved one.

The assessment is means tested which mean it considers your loved ones’ financial circumstances. Depending on your loved one’s financial position there could be funding available and other local authority support, for example a reduction or exemption from paying council tax. The care needs assessment is free and available to anyone over the age of 18 who needs one. If your loved one has an identified healthcare need, they could be entitled to healthcare funding, which could significantly contribute to the cost of care at home.

How to find a self-employed carer

Some people decide to employ their own carer directly to care for their loved one. This may be because they feel more comfortable being in control of the care provided. It may also be that they have had a negative experience with a care provider or in a care home.

However, employing your own carer is not a simple process and there are many complexities involved. This option comes with many responsibilities that can be time consuming and a burden for you and your family. With this arrangement you will be an employer and the carer, will be your employee. They are entitled to protection under Employers Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance, a written employment contract, statutory sick pay and holiday pay. This includes paying the carer (and their tax/national insurance). You will also be responsible for the care arrangement. When a carer goes on holiday or is sick you will need to organise cover. You will also need to conduct your own background checks on the carer through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Some people choose to employ a friend or family member to provide care at home, but this can cause problems in the relationship if anything does not go well.

How to find a self-employed carer

Some people decide to employ their own carer directly to care for their loved one. This may be because they feel more comfortable being in control of the care provided. It may also be that they have had a negative experience with a care provider or in a care home.

However, employing your own carer is not a simple process and there are many complexities involved. This option comes with many responsibilities that can be time consuming and a burden for you and your family. With this arrangement you will be an employer and the carer, will be your employee. They are entitled to protection under Employers Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance, a written employment contract, statutory sick pay and holiday pay. This includes paying the carer (and their tax/national insurance). You will also be responsible for the care arrangement. When a carer goes on holiday or is sick you will need to organise cover. You will also need to conduct your own background checks on the carer through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Some people choose to employ a friend or family member to provide care at home, but this can cause problems in the relationship if anything does not go well.

Finding a reliable carer with a fully managed service provider

The most flexible and safest option is to engage a fully managed care service provider. These are reputable companies who employ their carers directly. They will also train them before they come to care for you. With this arrangement you pay a weekly fee for your care. The company then pay, manage and supervise the carer to ensure high levels of care. A fully managed service provider offers families peace of mind and reassurance. This arrangement significantly reduces the burden of managing the care arrangement yourself. 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.

The assessment is means tested which mean it considers your loved ones’ financial circumstances. Depending on your loved one’s financial position there could be funding available and other local authority support, for example a reduction or exemption from paying council tax. The care needs assessment is free and available to anyone over the age of 18 who needs one. If your loved one has an identified healthcare need, they could be entitled to healthcare funding, which could significantly contribute to the cost of care at home.

Finding a carer through an agency

There are agencies who provide private carers through an introduction service. 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. Again, this can be a burden on your time. The benefit of using an introduction agency instead of doing it directly is that the carers are vetted and deemed suitable by the agency. They are also registered as self-employed and take care of their own tax and national insurance. Most introduction agencies are not registered with the regulator – Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England and the Care Inspectorate (CI) in Scotland. This means the quality of their care is not inspected.

Funding care at home and paying your carer

If you are not entitled to any social care or healthcare funding you will need to self-fund the care your loved one needs. There are options to help you when you are financing your own care at home. You can purchase a Care Fees Annuity. This is an insurance plan for long-term care. Based on assessment of your loved one’s needs, a cost for the insurance will be determined.  The policy will then pay for your chosen care option until the end-of life.

Another option is to consider an equity release scheme. This scheme enables you to release some or all the accrued value of their property, without the need for selling it or moving elsewhere. The money released can then be used to pay for your care fees or to purchase a Care Fees Annuity.

The Good Care Group works in partnership with Symponia, a professional body representing over 120 financial and legal advisors.

They are specialists in the area of financing private care fees. This gives you and your family peace of mind that you are receiving the very best advice.

If you are employing a carer directly, you will be responsible for making sure they are paid. If you use a fully managed service provider, like The Good Care Group we take on that responsibility. You just pay a weekly fee to use for the cost of the care we provide. Many families prefer this option as it means they are not burdened with financial matters related to the care provided.

Read the Live in Care Hub’s guide to funding and financing care at home here.

Arranging care at home

Once you have understood how to find a reliable carer and have decided a live-in care service is right for you – we are here to help.

We will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your loved one’s needs. This covers not just their care needs, but how they wish to live their life. The assessment informs the care plan which will be created by an expert care manager, guided by clinical experts. The plan of care guides our professional care team to deliver the highest quality care to your loved one.

Talk to us about your care needs

To talk about your care needs contact one of our friendly advisors. Calls from landlines are free.


020 3728 7577

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