Home care is a brilliant option for individuals who require a little bit of additional care support but would like to maintain their independence and stay living in their own homes. Beginning your search for home care services can be a daunting experience, it can be difficult knowing where to start and what you need to look out for when searching for the right home care provider.

Below, we have outlined 5 things to consider when looking for the right home care provider for yourself or a loved one.

1. What are the costs?

Cost is an important factor to consider when looking for a suitable home care provider for
yourself or a loved one. Regardless of whether you are self-funding or receiving funding support from the local authority, we recommend that you enquire about a home care provider’s costs.

Home care costs vary depending on the care provider and their location. View the average cost of home care in the UK per region according to TrustedCare, here

Another cost element to query with the home care provider is whether their fees increase on
bank holidays or weekends. Some providers charge a bank holiday weekend rate, which can be anything from an extra £2 per hour to double what they usually charge.

If you’re not sure how you will be funding your home care, you can arrange a Financial Assessment with your local council will determine whether or not you are eligible for funding support.

If you’re assessed as having assets less than £23,250, you will be eligible for partial funding to help cover your care costs and if you are assessed as having assets valuing less than £14,000, you will be eligible for full funding. Anyone with assets above £23,250 will not be eligible for any funding support and will need to self-fund their care.

2. Are they registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the regulatory body for care services in England and
unless they are an Introductory Agency, all home care providers should be registered. You can check whether the home care services you are interested in are registered with the CQC by searching the CQC Website, contacting the home care provider, or checking their
website where they may have the CQC widget displayed.

All care services registered with the CQC are inspected regularly, usually every couple of years unless there is cause for concern, and are provided with a rating. A home care service can receive one of four ratings: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate. Their
rating will be published publicly on the CQC website along with the Inspectors report. We recommend that you read home care providers’ latest reports which will give you an idea of the standard of care provided. The report is based on how caring, responsive, safe, well-led, and effective a service is observed to be by a CQC Inspector. Please bear in mind that if a home care service has recently opened, they may not necessarily have had their first inspection yet.

Introductory Agencies put care-seekers in contact with self-employed Nurses or Carers, from which the individual may select a Nurse or Carer who they will employ themselves. As they do not play an ongoing role in care planning or the practical delivery of care, they are not required to register with the CQC. Most introductory agencies specialize in live-in care but some do home care as well.

Please note that home care providers in Scotland are regulated by Care Inspectorate Scotland, in Wales, they are regulated by the Care Inspectorate Wales and in Ireland, they are regulated by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority. To find out what a home care provider in these areas has been rated in terms of the quality of care, please navigate to their own website or the regulatory body website.

3. Do they have reviews from past/current service users and their families?

What better way to get a feel for a home care service than finding out what past/current service-users and their families think about them? Service users and their families have had first-hand experience with the home care company and will likely give you the most honest and reliable feedback about the quality of service.

We recommend doing a Google search on the home care service and reading through their Google reviews, reviews left on third-party sites such as TrustedCare, and social media platforms like Facebook. Furthermore, you may like to check whether there have been any recent news stories about the home care service and make a mental note of whether they are positive or negative.

4. What care support can they provide?

We advise that one of the first things you check with a home care service provider is whether
they are able to support your or your loved ones care requirements. Many home care providers are able to support a wide range of care needs and healthcare conditions but it is essential to clarify this early on in the conversation so that you can ensure your efforts are focused on
liaising with services that can support your needs and preferences.

Some services specialise in more basic care requirements such as companionship, domestic support, and meal preparation whilst others will be able to support more complex care needs such as Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) and advanced dementia.

5. Can they support the number and duration of visits needed?

If you would like care support for particular durations, times of day & frequency, it is sensible to ask a home care service whether they would be able to accommodate your preferences or requirements.

Some home care services are able to support a range of different visit lengths, for instance, from 15 mins to 1 hour. Others may only offer a particular visit duration so it is always worth checking this during your initial conversation.

Whilst on the topic, you may also like to ask how much notice you would be required to give if you wish to make changes to the number and frequency of visits. For example, increasing or decreasing the number of visits a day. Furthermore, in an emergency, if someone has to be admitted to the hospital or requires respite care will the home care provider continue their support after discharge?

TrustedCare UK is an online directory of care homes, nursing homes, home care services & live-in care services in the UK.

They have a specialist brokerage team who help care seekers find suitable care services for themselves and their loved ones. If you would like free assistance with finding care services, please get in touch now!

Guest Blog – Trusted Care UK, Naomi Cooper, Digital Marketing Executive