1. Make a list of what you want from a professional carer
Before making a final decision about a home care agency, get as much information as possible so you can compare providers and make sure they meet your requirements.
- What do you want help with?
- How often do you want them to visit?
- What time do you want them to visit?
- What specific activities do you want them to help with?
- What’s your budget?
- How many hours a day/week can you afford to have help?
You might find it easier to do this with a family member or friend as having a conversation can give rise to many different issues. To get guidance on the cost of home care in your area use our cost of care and eligibility checker.
2. Make a list of home care agencies in the area that meet your needs
To find domiciliary care providers in your area, use our care services directory.
Check that the agency is regulated by the country's healthcare regulator. These regulators monitor and inspect services to make sure appropriate standards of quality and safety are met, and publish inspection reports online to help people choose care (linked to from our directory).
Check that the agency is a member of the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA); these agencies are required to adhere to its Code of Practice to ensure that high standards of care are provided. Personal assistants aren't regulated and don’t have to be registered.
To read more about the care regulators and what they do, see our article on this subject.
I chose this care agency because it says it has experience of dealing with dementia and one of the key things is consistency.
3. Draw up a shortlist of home care agencies
Only include those agencies that appear to be able to meet your needs. Our article on the pros and cons of home care services will help you in your decision making.
4. Contact the home care agencies on the list
Arrange to meet with staff, preferably at your home. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is your opportunity to find out what you need to know. If you have a family member who lives nearby, or a close friend, it’s a good idea to ask them to join you and help you compare the services they offer. Our article on questions to ask a home care agency gives you a thorough list of questions, which you can also download to print off and discuss.
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