In the southern half of the UK, live-in care is now likely to cost less than residential care
“Chesterford Homecare have provided an excellent, reliable and friendly service and have greatly assisted my recovery.” -Mr M, client in Sewards End, Essex
The cost of live-in care
In their 2017 survey the healthcare intelligence experts, Laing Buisson, reported that the average fee for a single room in a nursing home in the south east of England had risen to £1,041 per week.
Our own research, conducted in 2018 and based on a sample of care homes in North Essex and East Herts indicates that the cost of residential care in these counties for a single person had risen to anything from £1,050 to 1,500 a week, depending on the size of the room and the other facilities offered by the home. Where residential care is required for a couple, most care homes simply charge double the single rate, taking the cost to anything from £2,100 to £3,000 a week.
In comparison, live-in care for an individual in their own home is likely to cost anywhere from £700 to £1,400 a week, with most providers charging less than £1,000 a week. The charges will vary depending on where in the country the care is required (it tends to cost more in Central London) and whether the care is being provided by an unregulated carer introduction agency, or a CQC-registered care provider, Some firms may quote prices on the internet below £750 a week, but this is misleading, as their advertising fails to mention that they charge a separate “agency fee”, typically of anywhere between £150 and £250 a week.
If care is required for a couple, live-in care at home can typically cost as little as half as much as residential care, typically costing from £1,200 to £1,400 a week compared with £2,000 to £3,000 a week in a care home.
Why are unregulated carer introduction agencies able to quote lower prices than CQC-regulated care providers?
- The carers they introduce are deemed to be self-employed and, once placed with a client, are simply left to “get on with it”, without any monitoring, supervision or refresher training being provided by the agency which has introduced them.
- Because the carers they supply are self-employed, the agency has no direct employment costs and is thus able to avoid paying any employer’s national insurance (13.8% of a carer’s pay) or holiday pay (12.07% of a carer’s pay).
- Neither do they have any liability to make pension contributions on behalf of their carers.
- They are also able to avoid a wide range of other costs associated with providing safe and effective care, for example, employer’s liability insurance and CQC registration fees.
- Last but not least, because they are not responsible for the ongoing training, monitoring and supervision of their carers, they are able to run their operation with a skeleton management team, who do not even have to have any formal qualifications in care!
Why do CQC-regulated care providers charge more?
The short answer is that they provide a full-managed service. By choosing a CQC-regulated carer you can rely on the following:
- Before the care starts, your loved one’s needs and wishes will be fully discussed and their support package meticulously planned at a face-to-face meeting between your loved one and a member of the provider’s management team, which we would also encourage another family member to attend.
- All this information will then be incorporated into a formal care plan, which will provide the carer with detailed information about your loved one’s background and interests, their preferred daily routine, their likes and dislikes and any health or mobility issues they may have, including medication.
- Working from this agreed plan, the carer will then provide your loved one with exactly the care they want in just the way they like it. They will write everything up in detailed daily notes, which can be reviewed at any time, both by other family members and by members of the provider’s management team.
- The progress of the care will be regularly monitored by the management team, especially in the first couple of weeks, through a combination of phone calls and home visits, to ensure that it is meeting your loved one’s needs and the family’s expectations
- As for the carer (selected with your agreement) to look after your loved one, prior to their recruitment they will have been thoroughly vetted and put through a rigorous interview and selection process. They will have been properly trained in all the key aspects of care, including practical training in areas such as first aid, safe moving and handling and resuscitation.
- On the day the care is due to start, the new carer will usually be driven in and introduced to your loved one by the same member of the management team who carried out the initial care needs assessment visit.
- When the carer needs to take a break after an agreed number of weeks, the choice of relief carer will be discussed with both you and your loved one and they too will be introduced by a member of the management team.
- With all this meticulous planning and preparation and the regular monitoring by the management team, the care delivered should always be of a high standard, but if you ever felt the need to complain about anything, the provider is duty bound to investigate the matter and provide you with a written response within a reasonable timescale. You have the additional security of knowing that the industry watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, keeps a close eye on the handling of complaints by the providers it regulates as part of its inspection process.
- Whilst it is extremely unlikely that anything could go seriously wrong, if it did, you would have the security of knowing that your provider carries substantial public liability insurance, typically for £10 million.
Is it surprising, then, that live-in care provided by a CQC-regulated provider generally costs more than care from a carer introduction agency?
The cost of live-in care with Chesterford Homecare
Live-in care for one person – from £895 per week
Short-term respite care for one person – £1,095 per week
Live-in care for a couple – £1,195 per week