If you think you or a loved one needs help, the best thing to do is get in touch with your local authority, who have an obligation to provide a free assessment of your care needs. You can read more about applying for funding here.
If you are not eligible for state support, you may need to organise care privately. This can be a difficult and daunting process as care is a sector people tend to not think about until they need it. This makes it hard to know where to start when a decision has been made that care is needed.
Talking to people who are receiving care about how and what their provider is doing, and not doing, can be more useful than reading all the marketing material in the world. If you know people working in the sector, they may be able to tell you who to approach and who to avoid.
Check the CQC website – cqc.org.uk
You can search for care at home providers or care homes in your area, and see the most recent inspection reports about them. At the moment, CQC rates providers as either meeting five essential standards of personalised care, safeguarding, staffing, quality and management and suitability of management or not. This can be useful when deciding whether a provider is suitable or not. Soon CQC is changing back to a rating system, which should be even more useful for assessing care providers.
Contact a few providers
Ask for information, prices, ethos, CQC reports and for a face-to-face meeting. Complete transparency is important in care, and you should feel comfortable asking any questions you want about the Company as a whole. You should also be able to visit their offices as well to meet the manager there, if you’d like.
Ask if there is a minimum cancellation period
When starting a new package of care it can be a learning curve for both parties. It may be that the service you’re getting from them isn’t meeting the standards you expect. You shouldn’t need to be tied in for a whole month if this is the case.