Key points you need to be aware of when exploring different options.
Make a list of the day to day activities you would like help with.
- Having a good start to your day –
eating a good breakfast
- Comradeship or someone to go shopping with or to take you to meet friends
- Collecting your medications from the chemist
- Keeping your home the way you like it
- Undertaking the washing and ironing
- Making nutritious meals
Or if you give care for your loved one, you may be looking for the right person to sit with them or even for a care worker to stay overnight and allow you to get some rest.
Think about how you will pay for the care and support
You may be eligible to financial help towards the cost of your care. How much depends on the type and amount of care and support you need and the amount of savings you have.
You can request a community care assessment from the adult social services department of your local council. They have a duty to carry out an assessment of your care needs.
Somebody, usually a social worker or care manager, from the adult social services team will visit you at home. They will ask about what you requirehelp with and what you would expect to achieve from having a care worker. It is essential to be aware that an assessment of ‘need’ may not be the same as assessing what you ‘want’.
The assessor has to decide whether or not you have ‘eligible’ needs. These are the needs that can be publicly funded. If the local authority decide that you meet this criteria they will then conduct a financial assessment. The financial assessment will conclude whether you are entitled to financial help towards the cost of care and if so, how much.
Organising care and support
The council may make provisions on your behalf with private companies or charities to provide your care and support. Instead, you may be making your own arrangements to find a care provider. This might be because the council has:
Given you a personal budget to purchase your own care and support
Concluded that you do not meet their entitlement criteria
Because you prefer to arrange your care and support individually
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has clear direction and guidance for people who may need care services. You can find this online at www.findmegoodcare.co.uk
Deciding on a care agency or a personal assistant
If you are looking for care and support at home you need to decide whether you wish to directly employ a personal assistant yourself or if you want to use the services of a domiciliary care agency.
To give you an idea of the different responsibilities, we have produced a comparison of Mountbatton Care services with employing a personal assistant yourself:
Recruits suitable care workers and carries out rigorous checks, for example obtaining references, criminal records checks etc.
Employs care workers under agreed contracts and terms and conditions. These require care workers to follow our policies and procedures for providing safe quality care and support.
Carries out an assessment with you to help you decide which services you want and how you would like these to be provided.
Matches your requirements with a suitable care/support worker.
Arranges a timetable with you, setting out when the care/support worker will provide your service and for how long.
Manages the payroll and deals with tax and national insurance.
Has a comprehensive range of written policies and procedures which care workers are required to follow. These are designed to make sure each customer’s care and support is provided safely and competently.
Trains and supervises care/support workers. Failure to follow the correct working practices invokes Mountbatton Care’s disciplinary procedure.
Carries out health and safety and risk assessments (checking to see what tasks you need help with and making sure they’re carried out as safely as possible by the care/support worker)
Has professional liability insurance and has responsibility under Health and Safety law if the customer or care worker is injured in the course of their work.
Is responsible for finding other care/support workers to meet your needs. We have a team of care/support workers who are able to provide cover for holidays, sickness and other periods of absence or if your care worker leaves.
You are responsible for the hiring process. This includes advertising, interviewing, taking up references and appointment.
You employ the personal assistant which means you need to draw up an employment contract with appropriate terms and conditions.
You decide which services you require from your personal assistant and how you want them to provide this.
You decide if a personal assistant has the right skills, knowledge and personal attributes to provide your care and support safely and to protect your rights.
You need to agree the dates and times that your personal assistant will call. This means making phone calls and finding out what has happened if the personal assistant fails to show up.
As the employer you need to make appropriate deductions for tax and national insurance.
You need to develop a written job description so the personal assistant is clear about the requirements of their role including the skills, experience and values they will need to have.
You are the boss and so you are responsible for managing performance and discipline. Make it clear from the outset what action will be taken if an employee breaches the agreed ways of working.
You must consider what health and safety risk assessments are needed and decide who will carry these out.
You must have adequate insurance cover in case of injury to the personal assistant or yourself.
You should have alternative cover arrangements for when your personal assistant is on holiday or off sick from work. If your personal assistant leaves you will need to go through the recruitment process again.
There are organisations who can offer advice and guidance on employing your own personal assistant. This might include developing job descriptions, recruitment and training and information about your legal responsibilities. Some organisations may be able to handle parts of the employment process on your behalf, for example payroll.
Contact the Disability Rights UK Independent Living Advice Line
For further information on the above Telephone 0300 555 1525
Opening hours: Mon and Thurs 9.00 – 13.00