Choosing a home care agency

1 Jan 2018

When it comes to making a choice about which home care agency to select, it’s important to gather as much information as possible. You need to make sure you compare different providers in order to meet your loved one’s requirements.

Let’s take a closer look at the things to consider when choosing a home care agency. 

Location of your care 

For many, the best place to receive care services will be in the home. This is where family and friends are, so it feels familiar and safe. 

Help at home can come in many different forms – such as having someone to assist with day-to-day tasks around the house. In order to stay living independently in your own home, it’s also possible that you need equipment (for example, a walking frame) and specific home adaptations to aid mobility. 

For others, home isn’t always the most suitable environment to meet your care needs. If you don’t have friends or family around to help, or you have specific needs that can’t be met in your home, it may not be safe. In this instance, sheltered housing, extra-care housing and residential care homes or nursing homes could be better suited to you. 

Types of care services 

First of all, you should think about what kind of home care you need help with. Remember that care can come in many different forms and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. So sit down with your relative and make a list of what kind of support they’d like from a care worker – whether it’s personal care and hygiene, shopping and domestic duties, meal preparation, companionship, or nursing and healthcare. 

Because you’re in control of how your home carers help you, that means you have the power to keep things flexible. Usually, care will be provided through a dedicated care agency who can help you in various different ways, such as: 

  • From short-term care (less than an hour) to 24-hour care 
  • Cover for any other carer, including a family member, enabling them to take a break 
  • Emergency care, for example if you’re coming home from a stay in hospital 

Ask for a care assessment 

If your loved one requires care at home, then you should get in touch with your local authority. You’ll need to speak to the social services department and request a care assessment. 

Once the care assessment has been carried out, they will let you know if they can provide help and how much financial support you could receive. Alternatively, you could arrange your own care. If so, you could still be eligible for funding through your local authority. 

Standards and quality of home care 

We all have the right to certain home care standards. Your home care services shouldn’t just keep your loved one safe and well, but they should also make sure they’re treated with dignity and respect at all times. 

High-quality home care services, whatever they are, will always treat your loved one as an individual and ensure their personal needs are met. For example, carers who come to your relative’s home should listen carefully to what they want, and always involve the family in key decisions. 

When it comes to deciding on a home care agency, you should only consider services that are signed up to the social care commitment. 

The cost of home care 

It’s important to bear in mind that the cost of home care will reflect the quality and types of care services your relative requires. If they’ve received a care assessment from your local authority, depending on the outcome some services may be available free of charge. But don’t assume that everything will be covered for you, because many people have to self fund their own care. 

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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