Choosing homecare: Where do I start in finding the right agency?

Things to take into account when you’re looking for the right agency to provide homecare.

‘I have dementia and the council has assessed me as needing support at home, but my savings mean I need to find a homecare agency myself. Where do I start?’

Finding homecare – also known as domiciliary care – can feel overwhelming. It may be difficult to know where to start, but thinking about the type of care you need is a good first step. 

A homecare worker supporting a person with dementia

Think about the type of care that you need

What, when and who 

Homecare could involve a combination of personal care (such as washing), preparing meals, companionship, healthcare needs or cleaning and other help around the home. 

Think about how often and when you need support. For example, if you need help showering and you like to shower in the morning, it’s important the agency can support this. 

Look for local homecare agencies and create a shortlist of two or three. You may want to focus on agencies with experience of supporting people with dementia. 

The regulatory body where you live will have details of agencies – this is the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority in Northern Ireland, Care Quality Commission in England or Care Inspectorate Wales

The UK Homecare Association can also help. 

Useful questions 

When you contact agencies, you may want to arrange a meeting to find out more about how they work and how you feel about them. Questions could include: 

  • What training do their care staff have? Would you have the same carer(s)? Can you specify whether you’d like a female or male carer? Can you meet the carer(s) before they start? Do they keep notes, and can you see these? 
  • Will there be a care plan to meet your needs? How often will they assess your needs? How would they manage a change in needs? Are they able to meet any religious or cultural needs that you have? 
  • Are their costs based on an hourly charge? Are there a minimum number of hours? Do they charge more for weekends and bank holidays? Are there any additional charges? 
  • Does the agency have insurance? What is their complaints process? What do they have in place for unexpected events, such as staff sickness? Can you change carers? Is there a trial period, and how long is it? 

What next? 

Once you’ve found an agency that you’re happy with, you can agree a start date.

It’s a good idea to monitor how things are going – you may want to read notes made by care staff and arrange regular contact with the agency. 

Dementia together magazine: Feb/Mar 19

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now

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