What to ask at a Live-in Care Assessment

Decisions about care, the type of care, such as Live-in Care, and the provider of that care, can make a huge difference to people’s quality of life.


There are so many live-in care options out there, and it’s not made easier by the fact that most people don’t really think about care until it’s needed. Knowing what to look for and ask can make the decision easier. When organising care for yourself or a loved-one, it’s important to look around at a number of options to make sure that you’re paying a fair price, and that you are choosing a company you feel confident in.

We’ve put together some questions that could make that decision a little easier:

  • Are you CQC Registered? All reputable Care Providers will be, but it’s important to check. Some companies ‘place’ carers with Clients, and expect that the Clients organise everything else, including planning their care, paying the carers and dealing with disputes. Looking at the company’s latest CQC Inspection report is good to do as well.


  • Do you actually manage the care? There are two main types of Live-in Care Providers, ‘Introduction Agencies’, and ‘Management Agencies’. Introduction agencies do what they say on the tin – after the introduction, that is where their involvement ends. Other companies, like Good Oaks, actively manage the care, assess the risks and regularly review the care package to make sure it is still appropriate for your needs.


  • Are there any additional costs apart from the weekly fee? Other common costs include carer’s travel costs, food allowances, extra charges for Bank Holidays, and fees for carers needing to get up at night. Very few companies will have an ‘all-in’ approach, but it’s important to know all the costs to avoid a nasty surprise. Again, most reputable companies should be very clear about all the costs from the outset.


  • Where do you recruit your carers from? Some companies seem to recruit directly from abroad, some have mixed recruitment sources, and some recruit within the UK. Good Oaks only recruits in the UK, as we think it’s important for people to understand our culture as well as language.


  • Who will I have staying with me? Seeing some profiles of live-in carers on the company’s books will help to give a feel as to the type of people they are working with. It is not always possible to meet the carer in advance as they may be working at other placements, or live far away, but if you are able to cover the carer’s costs to for the visit, they may be able to organise that.


  • What work pattern do your carers do? Some companies strictly work 2 weeks on / 2 weeks off, and move carers around every time, while others prefer carers to stay 4-6 weeks at a time. In our experience, different patterns suit different people, so we are quite flexible, and try to match up the needs of our Clients and carers.


  • What happens in the event of an emergency? Is there an out-of-hours on-call number that is always manned? Most companies should have an on-call system, but smaller companies may not be able to provide as much of a round-the-clock service as others, if there is only one or two members of staff.


  • What is the notice period? 28 days is quite standard, but it’s important to consider what happens should you need to cancel your care due to an unforeseen hospitalisation, for example. Can you pause the care package, and resume this when you’re back home?


  • Is there a deposit to pay, and how can I pay the invoices? Some companies require cheques or bank statements. Good Oaks can also offer Direct Debit, or take card payments.


  • What Insurance do you have? All providers should have Public Liability Insurance, Professional Indemnity and Employers Liability Insurance. They are obligated to show you certificates, should you wish.


What the Live-in Care Provider will Assess:

The representative from the company will be spending time getting to know you and your family, and will probably ask questions about:

  • Your daily routine
  • Your preferences, ambitions and desired outcomes
  • Your current support
  • Your dietary needs
  • Your medication
  • Your home situation
  • Your mobility
  • Any risks around the home

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