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Why hire your own carer?
As we get older or develop illnesses or disabilities, we often need some help to continue to live a comfortable life in our own home.  A carer also assists an individual with his or her daily living activities to ensure the individual’s needs are met to maximise their enjoyment of life. 

Often this help is provided by a member of the family but this is not always possible.  This can be for a temporary period or longer term.  You may need a carer to help you with all your needs or someone to share the tasks and give your family member some time off. 

You can hire someone to help with any number of household chores such as shopping, cooking or cleaning.  For someone who needs help with personal care, a qualified and trained carer is often the most suitable.
Carers provide a variety of services which are determined by the individual needs of the person requiring care. Carer services can range from assistance with grocery shopping and meal preparation to personal care such as washing, dressing to more complex care in relation to conditions such as dementia, physical or learning disabilities. 

The main benefit of hiring a personal care assistant privately, someone who is employed by you, is that it affords you the maximum amount of control and input into your care. A carer who is an employee works for the person (or guardian of) who needs care. The most important part of the job is to take direction and provide care in a manner that is suitable to his or her employer.

The disadvantage of hiring your own carer is that you are fully responsible for their employment.  You need to manage payroll (or appoint someone to do this for you) and ensure you have back-up plans in place to cover illness and holidays or if the carer resigns.

  At FindaCarer.com we can advise you on drafting a contract of employment, terms and conditions of employment and help you set up and manage payroll – and much more.  Email us on enquiries@findacarer.com or phone 0845 052 5140.

Click here to find carers

One of the primary benefits of using a care agency to provide care is the convenience. The agency will carry out all the checks to make sure their care staff are suitable to carry out care work and provide them with the required training.  Although this means you may not always have the same person providing your care, there should always be someone available regardless of sickness, holiday, etc. 

The disadvantages of using an agency include higher costs in most cases, as well as some lack of control over choosing your carer.

How do I decide what type of care is best for me? 

Depending on your needs, you may decide to employ your own carer or use an agency. 

Your own carer:

If you decide to use only one carer and have a direct arrangement with him/her (either by employing them or by them working for you as self employed), you need to be clear from the outset what you need and when.  You will also need to consider what to do when your carer needs time off work (for illness or holiday). 

It is also important that you carry out careful checks on the carer’s suitability to work for you.  This includes not only taking up references as well as checking experience and training but also legal right to work in the UK, ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) registration and a criminal records check. 

If you are not sure about exactly what you are looking for and what you need, contact us and we will provide advice.  Email us on enquiries@findacarer.com or give us a call 0845 052 5140.

Use FindaCarer.com to look for carers that meet your needs. You can specify the types of skills you need them to have, hours of work, etc.  The website will rank those that most accurately meet your needs in your area, for you to review and contact.

Care in your own home through an agency:

If you decide to use a care agency, they will discuss with you the level and type of care you need and provide carers to help you with agreed tasks.  You may not be able to have the same person all the time but if your normal carers are unable to come, the agency will provide someone else to make sure there will always be someone there for you.  Agencies charge more than you would need to pay someone you employ directly but do provide a continuous service where you don’t need to get involved as an employer or worry about what happens if your carer falls ill or cannot come for any reason.  They also make sure their staff are fully trained and security checked. 

Use FindaCarer.com to find carers from Care Agencies.

What things should I be considering when choosing a carer?

Carefully think through what help you need so that you can be clear about what you want the carer to do.  Put together a list of activities and things you need help with, how often and when.  Try to make your list as specific as possible.  This list can then be used to make up a job description or statement of employment.  Also consider how much this may cost and what you can afford. 

What about background checks & references for carers?
If you decide to employ a carer direct, the employment responsibilities rest with you. Be sure you have the facts regarding:

  • previous employment (references)
  • training and relevant experience
  • ISA and criminal records checks
  • immigration and visa status (if relevant)
  • driving licence (if relevant)
This will help you make the most informed decision possible.

If you are employing a carer direct, we strongly recommend that you carry out these checks before employing them.  If you need any help, FindaCarer.com can help you with this process.

If you are looking to use a care agency to provide care services, simply make sure that when you are viewing the search results and carer profiles online, the screening and background check boxes have been ticked.

You can also ring the agency to discuss their process for interviewing, vetting of carers and for the reference check details.

Can I meet the carer beforehand?

If you are employing a carer direct, you will need to interview them beforehand to discuss and agree your requirements in detail.  If you need help with this, FindaCarer.com can help you with this process. 

If you are employing a carer through an agency, a representative from the agency will visit you beforehand to discuss and agree your requirements in detail.  Ask them for details of the carers they will send to provide care for you and ask if you can meet them beforehand.  The care agency should also provide you with a service user guide and agree a costed and detailed care plan with you. 

Do I need to sign a contract?

FindaCarer.com strongly recommend that you formalise the employment of a carer through a written agreement such as a contract or statement of employment.

If you decide to use an agency to provide you with care services, they will provide an agreement between yourself and the agency.  This will include an agreed care plan which specifies your care needs, together with how much you will need to pay for this. 

 Can I get help with paying for care? 

f you need care at home, you may be eligible for financial support from your local authority social services department*.  In England, Wales and Northern Ireland financial support for care is means tested, based on your income and savings.  If you are eligible for financial support for your care from your local authority, you can choose to receive this money directly and use it to buy the services you need yourself or you can ask them to fully manage your care for you. 

The first step in this process is to get a Social Services assessment of your care needs and a financial assessment carried out.  They will advise you on the range of services available to you in your community and what support they may be able to provide for you to lead an independent and fulfilling life. 

If you do not qualify for financial support to pay for your care needs, you can arrange this yourself by employing a carer direct or using a care agency to provide care for you.

  If you need help or advice, FindaCarer.com can help you.  We can offer independent advice and support to help you through this process.

*   In Scotland, personal care is provided free of charge but in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is a means tested service

If you are not sure about exactly what you are looking for and what you need, contact us and we will provide advice.  Email us on enquiries@findacarer.com or give us a call 0845 052 5140
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