Care at home

You can have someone come to help you while you remain in your own home.

Having someone who comes to your home to help with personal care needs can help maintain independence and you may be able to get paid care workers (known as home help) to provide support in the home.

These care workers can also be known as care attendants or personal assistants.

Personal care helps with tasks, such as:

  • Assistance with dressing
  • Washing and toileting
  • Eating and drinking
  • Getting ready for bed
  • Taking medication
  • Communicating

Who do I contact if I need help with my personal care?

The local authority is often the main provider of personal care, employing home care workers directly or commissioning services from private agencies and voluntary organisations.

You can contact your social services department to request an assessment of your needs; this is provided for free and will result in a package of care being suggested by your social worker. This may include carer visits but will also consider adaptations that could be made to your home and other services to support you.

If you are looking for care at home then you may wish to use a service provided by Care Sourcer. They provide an entirely free care matching service, searching all 27,000 registered UK care providers. They will provide you with a tailored list of people who can help now, with their price, within 24 hours. You can view their website, here.

How much does care cost?

If you request an assessment of your needs from your local authority then this will be followed by a full financial assessment to determine whether you will pay the full cost, a contribution or nothing at all.

Generally speaking, if you have over £23,250 in savings (with anything in joint accounts being treated as 50/50) then you are likely to be asked to pay the full cost and will be classed as a ‘self-funder’. This figure is £50,000 in Wales and £28,000 in Scotland.

The hourly cost for care varies by location, agency and level of care required. However it is typically between £15 and £20 per hour.

Further information on paying for care and support at home can be found in our other quick guide on this subject.

What about live-in care?

For some people live-in carers can be a good alternative to a care home. These carers will typically have their own room in your home and are on hand throughout the day to provide you with support and assistance.

Live-in carers do need to have breaks/holidays and often the care agency providing the carer will send a ‘cover carer’ during this time.

The cost of hiring a live-in carer is very high and it is usually more expensive than a place in a care home. For this reason, if you require local authority assistance with the cost of your care, they are unlikely to meet the fees of a live-in carer.

What if I have a complaint about my care?

If you have a private arrangement then you can complain directly to home care provider.

If you have an arrangement made through the local authority then you also have the option of making a complaint to social services.

Regardless of whether you are a self-funder or local authority funded, if there are instances of poor care then you can also alert the Care Quality Commission, the regulatory body. In addition, if your complaint is not adequately dealt with by the home care provider or local authority then you can escalate your concerns to the Local Government Ombudsman.

In Wales and Scotland complaints about care quality can be taken to the relevant Inspectorate.