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Home care, also called domiciliary care, is when care staff travel to the homes of people in need of assistance. This is arranged through the local council or through private agencies.

Home care is ideal for people who want to stay living in their own homes but would like some help with day-to-day living. These people can be older, disabled or managing an illness.

Home care workers are always properly trained and DBS checked in order to maximise a person’s safety. A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is run by the UK Government and used to be called a CRB check. It finds out whether the individual has any criminal convictions. DBS checks come in a few different levels, from a basic check to an enhanced check. The individual will be checked on whether they are banned from working with either children or with vulnerable adults, depending on the nature of the job they are applying for. Home care companies usually require a new, enhanced DBS check to be taken when hiring, to make sure it is up to date.

There are regulatory bodies in place that monitor and assess home care agencies to make sure that their performance is in line with the law and with good professional practice. Each country has its own care regulator. These regulators visit the agencies and conduct in-depth assessments. Their reports and ratings can be found online.

Care coordinators will do their best to match up the person requiring care and care workers based on location, availability and personality. Everyone is visited by a senior member of staff who will discuss their needs and preferences for the care they would like to receive. This is called a needs assessment. The staff member will then create a care plan that the care workers will use to deliver the service.

Daily care visits typically last for 30 minutes to an hour and can occur several times a day. Alternatively, you can opt to have visits known as ‘sits’ or ‘sitting’. These are longer visits that last several hours at a time. These ‘sits’ allow the care worker to assist with daily tasks, housework, prepare meals and take the person out for day trips, shopping or to local amenities and amusements. They are also trained to administer medication. Those who have ‘sits’ will generally be cared for by a rotation of two to three care workers who know them and their care plan inside out. This means that a deeper bond of friendship can be built, and care workers will find it easier to personalise daily activities.

If you are interested in receiving home care or arranging it for a loved one, you’ll first need to identify what sort of care you require. There are different types of home care, depending on the needs of the person needing care

Personal Care

This is support with daily personal tasks that may be more difficult as a result of illness or getting older. This could include tasks such as getting dressed, washing, going to the toilet and shaving. Care workers use hoists and sliders to move people with limited mobility. It is up to each individual as to what they want to include in their personal care, such as which products they want to use and what support they would prefer. All personal care is provided in a respectful and discreet manner that upholds the person’s dignity.

Companionship Care

Companionship care is ideal for older people who are lonely or at risk of becoming lonely. These people are still healthy enough to live independently and don’t want to move into a care home or retirement village. They simply want some company in order to stay happy and mentally healthy.

Loneliness is a huge issue that affects hundreds of people across the UK. Having somebody to talk to and go on outings with helps a person’s confidence, keeps their social skills alight and helps to avoid or ease depression.

Dementia Care

There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia. This illness comes in many different forms, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Pick’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. Specially trained care workers will help the person to maintain a routine and social life, assist with any personal or household tasks and support them to live as independently as possible. These care workers are trained to deal with challenging behaviour and will get to know each person as an individual. This way, they will know what situations that they particularly struggle with, for example they may get very confused at certain times or in certain places, and how best to help them.

This is a particularly useful service for alcohol-induced dementia and early-onset dementia, as people with these illnesses may not feel that a care home is the right environment for them.

Respite Home Care

Respite home care is a temporary care service. One form of this is to aid people who care full-time for a loved one. This could be daily or weekly care to help the carer manage their other commitments or simply take a break. It could even be for a few days at a time so they can have a holiday.

Caring for a loved one every day is a huge responsibility and it can be difficult for the carer to remember to look after themselves. Respite care is delivered by trained and experienced care workers. The care worker assigned to you will be trained to help your loved one with their specific difficulties, whether they have dementia, a disability or simply need extra help.

Another type of respite home care is for people who are leaving hospital and need a bit of extra help while they recover. This could apply to people of all ages, as movement, performing daily tasks and taking medication or injections can be difficult for people in recovery.

Live-in care

Live-in care does what it says on the tin. A care worker will come to live in the home of a person. It is a great option for people who need daily care and companionship and have the extra space at home.

Live-in care is not for everyone and there are many advantages and disadvantages.

It allows you to stay in your own home and have somebody there to help you maintain the house. You can keep the lifestyle that you are used to, including your social life, pets and standard of living, with a little extra help as your needs are changing. The downside of this is that you inevitably have less privacy than before, but as long as your care worker is respectful of your privacy and any house rules then this shouldn’t be a problem.

Having a live-in care worker means a very personal and close relationship. It’s essentially having a housemate or lodger and you’ll spend a lot of time together, so it’s crucial that you choose a care worker (or two care workers) who you or your loved one will really get on with. It’s also essential to make sure all checks are conducted properly before you let somebody come to live in your home. Make sure they have an in-date DBS check (for vulnerable adults, not children).

This type of care can be expensive and it’s important that your house is in good shape to provide a welcoming and comfortable place to live for your care worker. They need their own room that is in good condition and has a television and internet access in it. Renovating a room can incur further cost.

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