Finding the right home care provider can seem like a difficult and daunting task. You will be placing a high level of trust in the carers, by letting them into your home and your life. Naturally you want to make sure that you are getting the best and most appropriate care that is available. Here are some of the main points to bear in mind.

Decide what level of care you need

Home care can mean anything from providing companionship to carrying out professional 24-hour nursing duties. Some of the most common aspects of care that elderly or less abled people need help with include washing and dressing, cooking and meal preparation, cleaning, shopping, and nursing care.

If you need help only with tasks such as gardening or vacuuming, consider if it would be more cost effective to hire a cleaner or gardener, or ask for the help of family or friends. You could also hire a personal assistant, but bear in mind you may be taking on the financial and administrative duties of an employer, such as insurance cover and pension contributions.

Finally, consider if any home adaptations or mobility aids would help you to maintain your independence. You may be entitled to a grant or funding to help with the cost, depending on your financial circumstances. The first step is to contact your local authority to arrange an assessment.

If you decide to use a home care agency

The majority of people use the services of a domiciliary care agency, because they will have a range of skilled staff, and can adapt to meet your needs, should they change in the future.

Once you have decided which areas of care you want assistance, work out further details, such as how many visits you need per day, and at what times. Decide if you need the services of a registered nurse, or a more general level of care, as some agencies only provide general care rather than nursing care.

Make a shortlist of agencies

The next step is to meet a shortlist of agencies in the area who meet your criteria. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, your local GP service. There are websites which allow you to view the Care Quality Commission ratings from their inspections, so take these into account.

A good rating is an indication that the agency registered with one of the UK’s care regulators, and they will meet rigorous standards in the quality, safety and provision of all aspects of personal care.

Once you have chosen or made a shortlist of potential care providers that have the experience you require, arrange to meet the staff, and make a list of any questions you would like to ask.

Funding

You will also need to find out how much the care will cost, and how you will budget for it. You may be entitled to financial assistance from the local authority, either now or in the future, so it is a good idea to contact them and arrange an assessment.

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