If you are considering home care for yourself or a loved one, you may be exploring different services, agencies and costs. This research can be a daunting process, and with the large number of home care providers in the UK, it can be difficult to know where to start.
A commonly asked question by those looking for home care is: How much do care agencies charge per hour? In this guide, we explore the average costs of hourly care, the nuances of home care costs and what funding options are available, giving you a clear overview of home care costs in the UK.
Understanding the Costs of Hourly Home Care
When considering the hourly cost of care at home, it’s important to understand that not all home care providers offer the same services. Additionally, the type of home care you require, your care needs, and even where you live can affect the hourly rate of care.
Types of home care providers
Home care providers differ in their setup and the services they offer.
The three most common types of home care providers are:
- Private carers
- Introductory home care agencies
- Fully regulated home care providers
Private carers are recruited and employed directly by the client. The client is the direct employer and the private carer a self-employed contractor. With this arrangement, the client will pay the carer, cover any employment taxes and contributions and factor in holidays and time off for the carer.
Introductory agencies act as a type of employment agency matching self-employed carers with people requiring home care. In this arrangement, the introductory agency simply sets up the care arrangement and the carer and client arrange payments, holidays and employment contributions between themselves, much like a private carer set-up.
A fully regulated home care provider, such as Trinity Homecare, is a fully managed home care provider regulated and audited by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England. This means we employ our carers directly and deal with all employment and payment details for staff so our clients have a convenient and seamless service. Fully regulated home care providers must adhere to the standards of the CQC and any recommendations it makes as a result of its audits.
Different types of home care services
Whether it be an introductory care agency or a fully regulated home care provider, most home care providers will offer a range of services – some offering only visiting care, also known as hourly care or domiciliary care. Most home care providers will quote an hourly rate for visiting care services, whereas fees for live-in care are usually calculated on a weekly basis.
The type of service employed will impact the hourly cost of care. For example, overnight care will cost more per hour than care in the daytime, as the carer is paid more for working a night shift. Conversely, companionship care usually costs less than more intensive personal care and assistance with medication and mobility support using specialist equipment.
Some home care agencies offer medically assisted nurse-led care for people with complex health conditions who require daily medical support. These services cost more per hour than standard home care support. Many home care providers, including Trinity Homecare, offer support for complex health conditions that do not require medical, nurse-led care – such as dementia care, for example.
Complex health conditions that impact mobility, such as advanced motor neurone disease, will require two carers to attend the home so the client can be safely moved with mobility equipment, such as hoists. This will increase the hourly cost of care to the client. If you are a couple requiring standard home care, you can save on costs, as you may only require one carer to support both you and your partner.
Finally, your location may also affect how much you pay per hour. If you live in central London, an ‘inner London weighting’ may be calculated into carers’ hourly employment wage, which factors in the extra costs incurred for London residents.
What is the hourly cost of care at home?
Each year, the Homecare Association calculates the minimum rate they recommend local authorities should pay to home care agencies for visiting care services.
In 2023-24, the Homecare Association recommended that local authorities pay a minimum of £25.95 per hour when they are funding home care services. This is the minimum rate that the Association believes home care agencies can deliver a financially sustainable service whilst complying with the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.
The Homecare Association also states that councils should ideally go beyond this minimum rate and pay a higher price to enable agencies to meet the non-statutory UK, Scottish and London Living Wages. These higher rates factor in extra agency costs, such as travel expenses and office costs.
The recommended higher rates for 2023-24 are:
- London: £28.78 per hour
- Elsewhere in the UK: £25.95 per hour
These rates are recommendations aimed at local authorities and are not fixed in law, but they give a useful indication of home care fees you can expect to pay.
If you’re paying for your own care (and not fully or partly funded by your local authority or NHS Continuing Healthcare funding), you can expect to pay at least the minimum rate of £20+ per hour per carer. If you require two carers, you can double this hourly cost. The average cost of care in England in 2023 is between £20 to £35 an hour. There are providers who charge more per hour, but £20 is the minimum.
Not all home care providers are the same
Bear in mind that not all home care providers offer the same standards of care, and the old adage “you pay for what you get” is certainly true for the home care sector. When researching home care providers, be sure to carefully review what their services include and check the Care Quality Commission website to see the CQC’s rating and details of the audits carried out. Independent customer reviews are also useful; the review website Trustpilot can be a good source of independent reviews.
Also, be aware that some home care providers may charge additional fees to the hourly rate that they quote for home care for things like travel expenses or cancellation fees.
At Trinity Homecare, our hourly rate of visiting care is available from just £28 per hour, with no hidden or additional fees. As we are one of the top 3% of home care providers in England that have been awarded the highest rating of ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, our prices are competitive. Not only will you receive the best standards of home care available, giving you peace of mind, but our hourly home care costs are within the average range and below some of our competitors, who have also been rated ‘Outstanding’ in CQC audits.
To learn more about the cost of care at Trinity Homecare, read our Cost of Visiting Care Guide.
Different ways to fund home care
One of the biggest concerns for people looking into home care is how they will fund it. There are several ways that care can be paid for – both self-funded (paid for by yourself) or through healthcare funding (funding support from your local council, NHS or Government).
Let’s take a look at all the options:
There are four main ways to fund home care if you are paying for it yourself.
- Cash – is the most common way to pay for care, using your cash funds from your bank or building society
- Investing – in lower risk, mainstream funds that offer better returns than what can be achieved by leaving all of the capital in the bank. Also, take a look at any existing investments you may have to see if they are set up to provide income that could be used to pay for your home care.
- Care Fee Annuity – is when some of your capital, such as your home, is used to buy yourself an income, which can then pay for your care. Care fee annuities provide a guaranteed lifetime income, in return for paying one single premium. Generally, the income you will get from this type of annuity is much higher than from an ordinary annuity but the cost will vary between individuals.
- Equity Release – involves borrowing either a lump sum or an ongoing income from the value of your property. In most cases, you wouldn’t make any repayments during your lifetime. Although equity release is usually one of the more expensive ways of paying for care, some equity release providers are now offering more flexible schemes with simple rather than compound (rolling up) interest, which is generally cheaper.
Funding available for home care
In some circumstances, either due to your financial situation or healthcare needs, you may be entitled to external funding. There are three main ways to get home care funding:
- NHS Continuing Healthcare funding – may be available if you have an identified primary healthcare need. NHS Continuing Healthcare funding is a form of care organised and funded by your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
- Local authority social care funding – is means-tested and allocated by your local authority. The level of funding you might be entitled to depends on your financial circumstances and your care and support needs.
- Government-funded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – is available to adults who are below the state pension age and are living with a health condition or disability which causes difficulties with daily living or getting around.
To find out if you are eligible for any of the above funding options, get in touch with your GP, social worker or contact your local authorities Adult Social Care Services Department.
For more information on funding home care, read our Financing and Funding Care Guide.
Clear pricing for all types of home care
At Trinity Homecare, we believe in offering clear, transparent pricing for all our home care services. The cost you are quoted is the cost you will pay, with no hidden charges or fees added.
To know our pricing for both live-in care and visiting care, you can download our free Financing and Funding Care Guide or call our team to get an accurate quote for the type of care you require.
We offer a free, no-obligation enquiry service, including a free at-home care needs assessment so we can fully understand your care needs, wishes and preferences. This means you can get a clear picture of both your care needs and the exact costs you will pay with no obligation to employ our services.
Talk to our team today
Speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team today on 0207 183 4884 to find out how we can provide you with outstanding quality of care at competitive prices with no hidden costs.
Our lines open every day 8 am to 5.30 pm. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form, and we’ll be in touch to discuss your care needs soon.