Care Questions : Article 37Care Questions : Article 37

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.37

"My Mother lives in the next village to me and I feel is getting to the stage where she needs help with her personal care and domestic tasks like the laundry and some cleaning. I would also like the carer to take her shopping, to the hairdressers, etc. I have estimated that perhaps a working week would be about 24 hours. However, I do not wish to get agency help but would like to employ the carer myself. Can you give me any guidelines on how to set about doing this?"

Answer : If you decide to employ a carer you take on certain responsibilities as an employer. Depending on the number of hours the carer works you may be responsible for deducting tax and National Insurance. You may be responsible for paying Employers National Insurance contribution also. If your carer does work the number of hours mentioned then you will be responsible for the above. Your local tax office will give you further guidance on this.

When paying a carer you must not pay less than the National Minimum Wage, which currently stands at £5.05 rising in October 2006 to £5.35

Other factors to consider are entitlements of rest breaks, holiday pay and sick pay.

You will need to take out Employers Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance.

Your carer will require a written statement of employment which must have details of pay, hours of work, holiday entitlement, sick pay arrangements, the period of notice and information about disciplinary and grievance procedures.

There are several agencies that can help you in addition to the Inland Revenue. The Directgov website is helpful and contact with your local Business Link could help with written employment statements.

"Question - Can I dispose of incontinence pads in my dustbin if I wrap them first?"

Answer : Incontinence pads come under the description of clinical waste and should not be placed in the normal dustbin for collection. Local authorities operate what is called a "yellow bag" scheme for the collection of clinical waste for private households. Quite simply, contact your local council Cleansing Department or Customers Services in some authority areas and arrange to be placed on the Scheme.

"I care for my Father who lives in the same village as I do. I work part time but spend many hours a day helping him with most of his personal care, making his meals, doing his laundry, etc. He will not agree to me asking for a Social Services assessment of his needs as he says he will not have anyone but me helping him. I have tried to tell him that I need a break, that I cannot carry on doing all the hours in his home as I have a home and family of my own that also need my help.

Even though my Father refuses to have any interaction with Social Services will this bar me from getting a Carers Assessment. I feel this might be a helpful first step in perhaps solving my problem."

Answer : - As you are providing regular and substantial care for your Father who possibly could receive such services from Social Services, you are entitled to a Carers Assessment even though your Father currently refuses to have an assessment on his needs.

The assessment will be carried out by a social care professional who will listen to what you have to say about your situation and suggest ways in which they could possibly help you.

To obtain your Carers Assessment contact your local Social Services office or your local council's Customer Service Centre.

"My daughter and I are going to visit London for a show and a shopping day. I have details of the disabled facilities at the theatre (my daughter uses a wheelchair) but do not know which, if any, of the tube stations we can use. Do you?"

Answer : Most of London's underground system is very old and does not have disabled facilities. However, newer stations and those that are being updated, do. Transport for London has a tube map that you can purchase titled "Tube Access Guide" which should enable you to locate tube stations that you can use. Call Transport for London on 020 7222 1234 for a copy.