Thanks to Julia Arnold of Home Care Companions for explaining the different options available, and what to look out for, when finding a live-in carer.

Live-in care is carried out by carers who move into their client’s home and sleep overnight, either long-term or on a rotational basis. They usually work 12–14 hour days with a two hour break during the day.

Carers can be recruited through a care agency, through a care introduction agency or independently through word of mouth or advertising.

Care agencies are regulated by the CQC but clients have limited, if any, control over who will be allocated to them or how experienced or skilled they may be.

Employing a private, freelance or independent carer is an increasingly popular alternative option for those who want more control over who is looking after them.

The benefits are that private carers tend to be more experienced and are often more skilled and capable of running a home and looking after a client without needing supervision by a manager.

Although this is an attractive option, and usually much less expensive than going through a care agency, it is important to ensure enough checks have been done and the right structures, processes and contracts have been put in place.

A good introduction agency will find the very best private carers, check them thoroughly and skilfully match them with their clients, depending on their personality, strengths and suitability for each client. They will then negotiate a fee that both parties are happy with, and provide contracts, structures and processes that will ensure a professional engagement that is likely to be long-lasting, happy and successful.

A good introduction agency should work diligently to ensure they only introduce carers with proven skills, experiences and background checks. Clients should be provided with carers’ full credentials, training certificates, CV, DBS certificate (police check) and references and should interview them either face to face or on video link before making their choice of carer.

If the relationship doesn’t work out, for any reason, or the carer is unwell or has to go away, a good introduction agency will introduce equally professional replacement, cover and peace of mind.

The benefits are that you can have a suitably matched carer who is more skilled, experienced, kind and capable, usually for much less money than a care agency. Once happily matched, a client can keep their carer without the worry of them being ‘moved on’ by the agency and strong bonds can form between client and carer.

Introduction agencies are not regulated by the CQC and there is a risk that some services don’t check their carers properly or match them with suitable clients. This of course applies to care agencies as well; CQC registration does not guarantee a quality service.

The key to peace of mind is to know what questions to ask and to ask lots of questions.

Anyone looking to hire a private, freelance or independent carer can get free advice from Home Care Companions on 01403 711 639 or via their website:   Home Care Companions is a leading introduction agency that covers England Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you find your own private carer and want advice on putting thorough checks and processes in place to protect your loved ones, Home Care Companions offers a 10-point background checking service.


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