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How to work out what home care service you need

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 | Blog

The chances are we will all one day need care - be that palliative care, supported living or even traditional home care support. There’s a chance you or a loved one may have just recently decided receiving care and support will help improve your lives and now you’re trying to piece together the jigsaw to get the ball rolling.

But where do you start? With so many different types of care, so many providers and dozens of boxes to tick, it can be a daunting task – especially at such an emotional and difficult time.

To help you get to grips with this process, below is a five step guide to help you navigate through this care path and choose the best option for you or your loved one.

Step One – What care do you need?
Firstly, think about what your needs are:

  • Do you need around the clock care?
  • Would a visit each morning to help get you ready for the day be sufficient? Maybe your biggest struggle is simply bending down to get your socks on.
  • Do you need medical assistance during the day? From remembering to take your tablets to sorting your weekly medication.

Once you understand what your exacting needs are, you can then establish what care service will best support you. This could be one of, but not limited to, the following:

  • Domiciliary Home Care – support you with day-today tasks or even just offer a little companionship
  • Live in care -  enables you to remain in your own home whilst receiving care and peace of mind 24/7 with a care worker living in your own home
  • Supported Living – provide a small house which you will share with two or three others and have access to physical, mental and medical support 24/7, whilst still taking control of your own life
  • Respite Care – helping you recover from an operation, a short-term period of bad health or to provide temporary replacement care
  • Dementia Care – support for those with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lewy Bodies etc.

Step Two – Contact your local authority for help
Now you have a rough idea what care you would like to receive and what your needs are, now is the time to contact your local authority. Explain to them what your needs are and what care you believe best matches these. They will then be able to tell you what financial assistance is available, (you may need to be means tested), what support they can provide and, if you decide not to choose the support they can provide, they are able to outline what it is you should look for in a care provider.

Step Three – Create a short list of potential home care providers
Now you have an idea of financial support from your local authority and a bit of confirmation about what care you require, you can begin to contact care providers (if you have decided not to take the local authority’s assistance).

UK Care Guide provides a directory of home carers on its website. They also suggest you ask some of the following questions:

The home care providers

  • Do I need to sign a contract?
  • Is there a minimum number of hours that I need to commit to?
  • How much do I pay per hour and how often is this reviewed?
  • Am I responsible for meeting any other charges such as travel costs, VAT, national insurance, pension contributions?
  • Do I have to pay more if I need care in the evening, weekends or bank holidays?
  • How are payments made (cheque, direct debit, cash) and how regularly do I have to make these?
  • Do you have any insurance in case of damage to property by the carer?
  • Can you engage with the care agency for a trial period to see how things work out?

The carers

  • Will you have the same carer(s) and do they live nearby?
  • Can you meet the proposed carer(s) before committing to the care agencies?
  • What training do the carers receive and how does the agency monitor their training and skills needs?
  • Do the carers have any qualifications and does the care agency support their carers in undertaking any qualifications?
  • How many other people does the carer look after and how close are they to where you live?
  • What written records does the carer keep and will you be asked to sign a time sheet indicating when the carer came and how long they stayed?
  • Can details of any written records and time sheets be sent to a relative?
  • What communication skills does the carer have and are they able to speak your language in a clear and understandable way

Your needs

  • How does the agency determine who the right carer for you is? Do you have any particular religious or cultural requirements you want the carer to be sensitive too?
  • How often will the agency speak to you about the suitability of the carer and whether they are meeting your needs?
  • Will the carers have direct access to my house?

If you have a particular medical condition, it is also important to ensure that your chosen carer has experience of this and is able to provide the support that you will need.

After contacting a few home care providers, you should create a shortlist of those that best match your needs and situation.

Step Four – Calculate the cost
Now you have gathered information from a few providers and the financial assistance available from the local authority, you can calculate how much your new care service is roughly going to cost you.

This is an important step so that you ensure you are able to fund the provider you desire and can match the service with your needs effectively.

Step Five – Make a decision
Now you have all of the information you require, you can consider making your decision on which care provider to choose.

To do this, you may wish to contact a couple of them again and ask some of the key questions from Step Three and any further queries you may have. This will help give you piece of mind that you are making the right decision.


The Care Guide UK website has further information about choosing the right home care provider, but hopefully this simple guide will help you take your first steps in the right direction to help you or your loved one, continue to live life as desired – even if you do need a little support to do so!

To find out more about the care services Kare Plus offer, click here.



Source: Care Guide UK

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