It isn’t just about nice people helping out, there are justifiable regulations and legal responsibilities that need to be followed to safeguard vulnerable people living in the community. The provision of ‘personal care’ is considered a regulated activity by the Care Quality Commission
(CQC) and involves supporting people in their homes (or where they’re living at the time) with things like washing, bathing or cleaning themselves, getting dressed or going to the toilet.

According to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, any person (individual, partnership or organisation) who provides regulated activity in England must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) otherwise they commit an offence.

The above rule however does not apply to privately employed carers but does apply to any agency providing carers.

Top Tip Number 1:

Check CQC Registration and Inspection Report

Firstly, check any care company that you are commissioning to care for you or a loved one, is registered with the CQC. The CQC also rate care companies but don’t disregard any new companies that haven’t had the opportunity to be inspected yet, they could be outstanding… We come across some amazing private care arrangements but just be aware of potential issues with accountability and issues such as covering for absences.

Home Care can be costly both financially and in its effect on Quality of Life.

Quality Regulated Home Care can’t be deliveredon the cheap. We have come across numerous families who have been “making do”, believing that better didn’t exist and it is truly heart-breaking to see the impact on a person’s well -being when they are in receipt of poor quality care. The UKHCA (UK Home Care Association) is working for quality in all home care and has calculated that quality care cannot be provided for less than £21.43 per hour based on payingcaregivers the National Minimum Wage, and £25.70 at London Living Wage.
Local authority care allocations are often in the region of £18/hour.

At Visiting Angels North Surrey, all our carers start on the London Living Wage and as they complete training, we recognise their achievement with a salary increase. We pay our caregivers more because we want to recognise the incredibly important job that they do. We want our caregivers to be happy in their role which we strongly believe has a positive outcome for our clients.

Top Tip Number 2:

Ask questions of your Local Authority and potential Care Providers – the care company you work with is an important decision with a huge impact on day to day life.

Don’t be led by cost alone, have a conversation with the care company of your choice to see if they can
help you.

At Visiting Angels North Surrey, we try to find creative solutions to help people achieve their care needs within their budget wherever possible.

  • Ask about any “hidden” costs such as travel time, bank holiday rates etc.
  • Ask the care companies about how they treat their staff and what measures they have in place to check the quality and safety of the care.
  • Ask about their recruitment processes and referencing policy (at Visiting Angels North Surrey we ask for 4 references as well as a DBS Check).
  • Ask about how the caregivers are trained and the ongoing support they receive.
  • Ask your local authority to carry out a care needs assessment to see if you qualify for any financial support that you can then potentially use to commission the company of your choice. Many families that we come across are unaware that they have a choice and believe that they need to accept the care company that is provided.
  • Also ask about non -means tested benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Council Tax Reduction that can help.

At Visiting Angels North Surrey, we recognise just how important this decision is and I will always be happy to talk through concerns and help wherever I can.

Lynn James