Looking for appropriate home care services is like travelling down a road paved with obstacles.
A relative or a friend is approaching the stage where it is likely that some care support will be needed. Talking it through about what form this support should take and then finding a care agency to provide the service sounds simple enough. The reality is likely to be different.
There are several excellent voluntary organisations that offer information about the care sector but unless you have one in your area or can research their websites on the internet or on others such as NHS Choices, you may find it difficult.
Libraries may have some or no information, or it will be hard to locate unless you ask. There are no standard leaflets which are universal. (There used to be one for NHS Continuing Care, but this is no longer freely available).
Regardless of where the information is found it is likely that finding the right care package is going to take time. The process for many is often described as ‘frustrating and time consuming’. This is especially the case for working people as most of the care sector, including social services are not weekend friendly.
Having a care service means that it must be paid for. Depending on financial circumstances this may be State funded or partially State funded. If the State is going to fund all or part of a care package and is going to contract with an agency this will take time to become reality and in the interim a person may have to make their own arrangements.
If a person is funding their own care, then they need to locate a care provider to support their needs. It might be thought that in a city or urban area this would be easier than in a rural location, but this is not necessarily the case. In city and urban areas there will be more providers but also more people to support.
Many care providers have one main customer, their local council. This may mean that though they could provide the support asked for, it may not be at a time of choice, a person may have to have several different care workers coming in or simply they may not be able to help.
Hourly care, shift care, night sitters, night sleepers, ‘pop in’ 15-minute visits, 24-hour care, live-in care, specialised care, domestic care and companionship care, will all be available but not in every locality. The cost of care services can be different for the same type of care package from different providers. Contrasting the financial rates charged for weekdays, weekends, night times, bank holidays, having employed care workers or self-employed care workers as provided by Introductory Agencies is not always easy to do as some providers will want to make an assessment visit first and will not offer a ‘ball park’ figure.
To make the journey a little easier before the time of need, the advice is to investigate what is available in the local area, download details, ask for brochures and put the information in a safe place.