09 How much does live-in care cost? Is there funding?

The cost of live-in care varies depending on your circumstances (including the level of care needs, type of live-in care and duration of care). Self-managed (introductory) live-in care usually starts from around £750 per week and managed live-in care usually starts from around £1100 per week.

There are many options for live-in care and the different services and providers and options can all feel overwhelming. Always begin by considering what you or your loved one needs. Once you’ve established which aspects of daily life are challenging and require support, then consider the type of live-in care that would best accommodate for your needs. The cost will vary across different care providers so keeping a clear understanding of what you want will make comparing your options easier.

Things to consider:

Type of live-in care

If you and your loved ones would benefit from the peace of mind of a fully-managed service, you’re likely to be paying more than if you’re managing a self-employed carer yourself. Both types of live-in care have their benefits, but assessing your own situation will help you make an informed decision.

If you’re caring for a loved one but you’ve got other commitments and stresses such as a job and family life, managed live-in care could give you the reassurance and peace of mind you need in knowing all aspects of your loved ones’ care is being professionally managed, monitored and regulated by the CQC. If you want to take a more ‘hands-on’ role and you’ve got enough time to manage your loved ones’ care yourself, self-managed (introductory) live-in care gives you more responsibility often at a lower cost.

Time

The length of time you’re planning to have live-in care for will change the cost. The minimum duration for a live-in care placement is usually 2 weeks, but different providers may offer different options. The cost of live-in care is usually quoted for 1 week, and you’ll receive ongoing invoices. You’re likely to be asked to pay an initial deposit to secure the live-in care assistant before they take a placement elsewhere, but it’s not advisable to pay for an entire long-term package upfront in case you decide to terminate the contract for any reason.

Breaks

Although your care assistant lives in your home, they are not expected to work 24 hours a day. A typical day will be broken into contact/work time and non-contact/downtime, based around your daily routines and preferences. On average, a live-in care assistant may typically work between 8-10 hours a day. In order to comply with employment law regulations, a live-in care assistant will require a minimum two-hour break in every working day. If you or your loved one cannot be left unattended for this period of time, a visiting carer can be arranged to work in partnership with your live-in carer. The billing and payment for both services depend on the agreement you have with your care provider.

Expenses

You may want to stay in charge of all household expenditure, or you may delegate all or some of the responsibility to your live-in carer. If you’d like to give your live-in carer some responsibility over expenditure, it’s advisable to keep it simple and ask your carer to keep a petty cash record or to have a fixed amount to spend on housekeeping each week.

Are there any funding options available?

If full-time care is required, and a person’s primary need is a health need, a funding system called NHS Continuing Healthcare could pay for all ongoing care fees.

What is NHS continuing healthcare?

NHS continuing healthcare is a package of care that’s arranged and funded by the NHS for people who are assessed as having significant ongoing healthcare needs.

If you receive care in your own home (which could be live-in care or visiting care), the NHS covers the cost of support provided by care professionals.

Cost of a carer vs other forms of care

Fees are dictated by care levels required: companion care with minimal personal care or condition management is understandably less than those who require high-level care, have complicated conditions or challenging behaviour. More complex care needs usually require a care assistant who has specific qualifications or experience and these carers are usually recognised for their advanced support with higher fees. The cost of live-in home care is comparable to residential care costs but for couples, live-in care is significantly less than a care home because you’ll be paying for one carer, rather than two beds. In terms of value, live-in care offers far greater levels of one-to-one quality time with clients.