Choosing a home care provider can be a daunting task if you’re new to home care services. It’s an important decision that you want to get right for you or your loved one.
This guide explains the types of home care services available, important factors to bear in mind when researching home care providers, and the questions you should ask when considering their services.
Types of home care
There are several types of professional home care services available in the UK. Here are the different ways you can receive care and support at home:
CQC regulated home care providers
The Care Quality Commission regulates all full-service home care providers in England and Wales, while the Care Inspectorate regulates home care providers in Scotland. A full-service home care provider describes a home care service that is fully managed by the home care provider, such as Trinity Homecare. This means they recruit and manage all their care staff, and are wholly responsible and accountable for the care that is delivered.
Unregulated introductory home care agencies
Introductory home care agencies are not regulated by the Care Quality Commission as they are not full-service home care providers. Their role as introductory home care agencies means that they match clients with professional carers who do not work for the agency and are self-employed. In this type of home care, the carer is employed directly by the client.
This group includes any carer recruited and employed directly by the client. The client is responsible for paying the carer directly and ensuring they work within employment law guidelines – such as the carer taking enough breaks while working. The client may also be required to update their home insurance.
How to choose home care
Before you start making detailed enquiries and selecting home care services, here are some important things to think about. This will help you focus your search on the type of care and provider that suits your needs:
Choosing the right type of care
This is a critical first step as ‘home care services’ is a broad term. Your loved one may need assistance with personal care such as washing and dressing in the morning, in which case visiting care might be suitable. Or maybe specialist care for a specific health condition is needed, such as Alzheimer’s care, which may require 24-hour care and support. Maybe you’re looking for temporary respite care to cover for an existing caregiver or postoperative care if your loved one has just been discharged from the hospital.
Start by making a list of what your loved one needs and what they find challenging in their daily life. Be sure to include them and any existing caregivers in the conversation so you can understand their needs, wishes, and preferences. Questions to consider could include:
- What do you need help with?
- Have you got special needs, such as a health condition, that need to be considered?
- How often and at what times of day do you need help the most?
When making a list of the things your elderly loved one needs help with, bear in mind that no care provider will expect you to understand all the different types of services on offer. If you work with a fully regulated home care provider, they will conduct a free at-home care needs assessment so they can create a personalised care plan with detailed home care recommendations and advice.
Considering the costs of care
With such broad services on offer, the cost of home care also differs greatly. It’s a good idea to explore the costs of home care to get an idea of what is within your budget. Do bear in mind that if you are unable to fund home care yourself, depending on your personal circumstances, you may be eligible for local council funding. You can learn more about local council funding on the NHS website.
Visiting care with Trinity Homecare starts at £70 a week for 2 or 3 visits per week, whereas live-in care with Trinity starts from £1,400 per week. The cost of live-in home care is comparable with the costs incurred in a residential care home or nursing home. This makes live-in home care great value for money as the client receives personalised one-to-one care from a dedicated carer in the comfort of their own home.
Assessments, accreditations and awards
If you feel regulated services are important to you, then you should focus your search on home care providers that are regulated by the Care Quality Commission, such as Trinity Homecare. Regulated home care providers are assessed on 5 key standards and the reports are available on the CQC website. Trinity Homecare is very proud to have received the highest rating of ‘Outstanding’ in our most recent assessment. That puts us in the top 3% of home care providers in England and Wales.
You can also check any awards and accreditations that the home care provider has been awarded by searching their website.
Checking customer reviews and areas covered
One way to assess home care providers is to look at customer reviews. Remember that any customer reviews on a home care provider’s website have been chosen by them. To get a fair overview of customer reviews check out Trustpilot and Working Feedback, which are independent customer review websites. If you know friends or family who receive home care services, be sure to ask them about their personal experiences.
Not all home care providers work in every area of the UK so check which home care companies cover your area. This will save you time researching providers who may not be available to you. You can find this information on the home care provider’s website.
When you have considered what help your loved one needs, what type of home care service you are interested in, and which providers cover your area, you will be better able to explore the home care providers on offer to you.
Questions to ask
Once you have a short list of providers, you can start to ask more detailed questions to understand if they meet your requirements. Here are some questions that can help you get the information you need to make the most informed decision.
What qualifications do the carers have?
Are they experienced in the type of care/health conditions relevant to me?
How do you recruit your carers and do you carry out the necessary background checks?
What training do you provide to them?
How are the carers supervised and evaluated?
Will I have a consistent carer or will different carers come to the home?
What if I am dissatisfied with my carer?
Can the carers help me with my medication?
Are there any tasks that the carers cannot help with?
Do you have a transparent pricing system?
What is your cost for hourly care?
Are there any additional costs that are not included in the quote?
Is there a service agreement contract?
How much notice is needed if I decide to stop receiving home care?
How do you take payment and how often?
What policies and procedures do you have in place for things like safeguarding and complaints?
How do the carers keep records and report to the management regularly?
How will the family/loved ones be kept involved?
If there is an incident in the home how will this be dealt with?
How often do you review care plans?
Is there open communication and easy ways to get in touch with the care team? (Such as a 24-hour customer helpline).
What is the minimum number of hours you offer per week?
Do you offer live-in care and 24-hour care?
Do you offer visiting care?
Do you offer short-term/long-term home care?
If my needs change how quickly can you adapt my care?
Do you provide home care for specialist conditions? (such as Alzheimer’s or stroke care, if it is relevant to you)
Will you carry out an at-home needs assessment and create a bespoke care plan for my care?
Can I arrange a short-term trial?
Armed with this information you will be best placed to make an informed decision about the best home care for you or your loved one. Making the process as smooth and efficient as possible.
Why choose Trinity Homecare
At Trinity Homecare, we have provided the highest quality home care across England for over 30 years. In our most recent assessment by the Care Quality Commission, we were awarded the highest possible rating of ‘outstanding’ for the services we deliver. We are incredibly proud of this achievement that puts us in the top 3% of home care providers, and the client reviews we receive:
“Dear Trinity Carers,
I cannot express quite how much we appreciate everything you do for our Mum.The care that you give her and the love that you show her is incredible.It has been an absolute joy to meet each of you and a real relief to know she is in such good hands. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Dania, daughter of client
If you or your loved one needs help to live a full and happy life at home, get in touch with us today. Our friendly care team is available seven days a week to take your call from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm on 0207 183 4884 or complete our online enquiry form.