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LIVE-IN CARE 2024 – How do I go about choosing the right live-in care provider?

Once you have decided that live-in care is the right option for you or your loved one, how do you go about choosing a provider? Live-in care is 24/7 support and companionship for those living in their own home; this can be for individuals or couples of any age who are in need of care and support. The biggest advantage of live-in care is that those needing care do not have to leave behind their home, their partner or their pet, but can stay in the home and the community they love.

5 things to consider to help you make an informed decision about a live-in care provider

There are five things to consider and ask of every potential living care provider to help you make an informed decision:

There are dozens of live-in care agencies in the UK and you will be able to identify those operating in your local area via an internet search. But if you haven’t been given a personal recommendation, how can you be expected to work out which are the good providers and then decide which one would be best for you?

There are five things to consider and ask of every potential live-in care provider to help you make an informed decision.

  1. Know your needs, so you can determine which provider will be best be able to meet them

Prepare for and expect to have an in-depth discussion about the type of care each provider can deliver and assess how well it meets your own expectations.  A professional live-in care agency will visit you or your loved one to evaluate the type of care that is needed; at the same time, however, you need to know what it is that you are looking for beyond any specific medical requirements which your family doctor can advise you about. Live-in care is a broad term, so list exactly what is needed. A carer who can only help with cooking, cleaning, gardening, and household management and maintenance is a very different animal from a carer with a full set of professional healthcare skills.

If the provider’s recommendation or assessment is contrary to what you want for your loved one, then that may be a warning sign. That is not to say their recommendations are not valid, but if they are clearly not listening to you when you tell them about your needs and expectations, then they may not be the right provider for you.

  1. Do your research early, so you aren’t in a rush if a crisis occurs

When is the right time to consider live-in care? Why not take a look at our blog covering this topic? As soon as you begin to have genuine concerns that you, or someone you love, might need full-time support in their home, that is the time to start researching the best solution and provider.

  1. Look and ask for recommendations

Social workers and doctors may have a list of live-in care providers in your area, but they may also be able to put you in touch with existing and past clients who can give you recommendations. Online reviews cannot always be trusted, so it is better, if you can, to get one or more first-hand recommendations. The providers themselves should also be able to give you references and put you in touch with past clients (with their permission). You can also look at feedback and testimonials on their websites or on social media to see the ‘type’ of company they are and how they are perceived in their local community.

  1. Check they are registered with the CQC (Care Quality Commission)

Whether you are a company or a charity, if you provide care services, be it residential or in people’s homes, involving the administration of medication or any form of personal care,  then you need to be registered with the CQC. The CQC regulates all health and social care services in England, as well as hospitals, GPs, dentists, and ambulance services.

One of the CQC’s requirements is that providers should display their CQC rating and provide a link to their latest inspection report on their website. Chesterford Homecare is rated good and you can access our full CQC report here.

It is a criminal offence for a care agency to provide any type of regulated service without being registered with the CQC and the public are encouraged to report any providers whom they suspect of flouting these regulations.

  1. Involve the person who actually needs the live-in care

Despite having the best of intentions, in your hurry to find suitable live-in care for your loved one, you might just forget to include them in the process. However, it is extremely important they are given the opportunity to consider what it is they want and need and formulate their own list of the questions they want to ask, so they too can get a feel for each provider and express their own preferences or concerns.

Speak to and – if possible – meet the care providers on your shortlist

We strongly recommend you speak to every care provider on your shortlist and, if possible, meet with their Care Manager, so you can get a “feel” for them.  After you’ve done some online research, asked around, and found out all you can – talk to the staff at the provider. Check to see whether they’re genuinely interested in your loved one’s needs and seem competent, informed and attentive. It is not a science, but some conversations will give you a better “feel” than others, and while we don’t recommend this being the only consideration in your final decision, we know that gut-instinct will often be a big factor. For this reason at Chesterford Homecare we always want to meet our clients and discuss with them which of our carers would be most suitable, so that everyone can get a feel for how this new ‘relationship’ might work.

Other questions to ask are:

  • What training and background checks are required?
  • Will the carer work with other healthcare professionals, such as GPs?
  • How do the carers record significant events and occurrences?
  • How do they measure any client improvements?
  • Are the carers checked on a regular basis to ensure the client’s continuing well-being?
  • How frequently will the care plan be reviewed and updated?
  • Is the provider (as well as the carer) available 24/7?

Chesterford Homecare is an independent live-in care provider that has been looking after the elderly for nearly 10 years now.  We are happy to spend as much time as you need answering your questions and we will always come out and visit you without any obligation on your part. We only want the best for our clients, so if we can’t offer you what you’re looking for, we will tell you and recommend someone else. Give us a call on 01799 530780 and tell us what you’re looking for – our friendly team are here to help. Click Supported living services – Social care and support guide – NHS (www.nhs.uk) for more information about Live-in care.

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