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Choosing a home care agency

If you’re searching for care at home, use our step-by-step guide to help you decide how to get the best help for your needs.
2 min read
In this article
1. Make a list of what you want from a professional carer 2. Make a list of home care agencies in the area that meet your needs 3. Draw up a shortlist of home care agencies 
4. Contact the agencies on your list 

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.

Use our directory to find local home care agencies anywhere across the UK.

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 care 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.

The Live-in Care Hub also provides advice on arranging live-in care and information about its members, which are all agencies registered with the UKHCA.

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.

Receive expert guidance on caring for older people. Our emails are free and you can stop them any time.

4. Contact the agencies on your 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.


Further reading

Paying for home care

We explain the options for paying for care at home, from local authority support to paying for it yourself.

Live-in care

Live-in care helps you to stay in your own home rather than move to a care home. Find out if it could be right for you.

Last updated: 29 Apr 2020