Organising care

What homecare do I need?

After realising that you or a loved one needs some extra care or support at home, the next step is to evaluate care options and decide what is the most appropriate.

Types of home care

What options are out there?

The support on offer spans a huge range of services, from informal home help, to round-the-clock live-in care, and residential or care homes. Each may be suitable for different people in different situations. It often depends on the individual’s priorities, personality, and needs.

Informal home help

Probably the cheapest option is informal home help. This might be leaning on existing support networks such as neighbours and friends, or paying for someone to pop in to help with things you are finding difficult. 

Pros – This can work when someone needs relatively little help to remain at home; you can choose exactly who comes into your house, and you can rely on people you might already know. 

Cons – There is a risk due to difficulties in vetting people and checking criminal records. If you start needing more help, or start relying on people doing things at a certain time or day, informal care like this can start to be less appropriate. If someone you rely on is unwell, or away, that can cause issues.

Types of care

Visiting Care Agency

Care agencies, such as GoodOaks, are often relied on when support is needed more consistently, there are personal care requirements, or if someone has a condition that might progress.

Pros – Care agencies should be flexible and responsive to changing needs. They should be able to tailor their support to exactly what you need. They are also more reliable – if your usual carer is sick or unavailable, it is their responsibility to replace them.

Care agencies are regulated by the Care Quality Commission, and vet and train their staff before they visit you. 

Cons – Although they are significantly most cost-effective than residential care, care agencies are more expensive per hour than paying someone directly. It can be difficult to know which agency to choose, and you need to check there are no hidden charges on top, such as mileage. GoodOaks has a simple hourly rate, which ensures you only pay for what you need.

Live-in Care

It is a bespoke, cost-effective alternative to residential care, where a live-in care professional stays with a client for at least a week at a time. During their stay, they provide companionship, help around the home, medication, personal care, shopping, and help with activities and outings.

Pros – Live-in care means there is no need for a disruptive move into a care home, and a client can keep their routines, surroundings, pets and community. There is complete peace of mind for family members, as there are no gaps between visits to worry about, and someone is always on hand. 

Long-term, lasting and enabling relationships can form, especially when with a care company that has a partnership-approach to homecare that treats clients and families as the experts in their life and needs.

It is more cost-effective than visiting care when someone needs help throughout the day, and it is about the same cost as residential care. 

Cons – It can be a big adjustment to have someone living in your home, and there is often some trepidation about how well you’ll get on with the care professional. There is slightly less supervision and transparency than at a care home, which is why GoodOaks only works with experienced, vetted and trained care professionals, who are monitored remotely using unannounced spot checks and regular supervisions.

You also need a suitable spare room for the live-in care professional, although they can share a bathroom if required.

Managed Live-in Care vs Introductory Care

Managed live-in care, such as the care provided by GoodOaks, is a regulated, managed service that is monitored by the CQC. Care Professionals are employees that are trained, supported and managed by the provider, rather than the client and their family. 

Introductory care is where the agency is a middle-man, ‘introducing’ a client with a care professional, which is where their involvement generally ends. 

Managed care can have a slightly higher cost than introductory care, because the agency is much more involved, for example:

  • Sickness and absence management, including sick pay and sourcing appropriate cover
  • Care planning and risk assessments for both the client and care professional
  • Regular spot-checks and supervisions, undertaken by managers trained in Safeguarding awareness 
  • Employers and Public Liability insurance, if anything were to go wrong
  • Account management, meaning no awkward conversations with carers about performance, pay, conditions or personal situations. 
  • Regulatory record keeping and maintaining mandatory standards in safeguarding, medication management, and mental capacity assessments, for example.