Hiring help at home

Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care, talks about the practicalities of arranging care at home yourself.

You might decide that you want to pay for someone to care for you at home, rather than using an agency or other provider. Often it will be the first time you’ve hired someone so you are likely to be worried about what to do about pay rates, and insurance etc. But you can get help with this. For people in Scotland, check out Self-directed Support in Scotland.

Further information

Receiving dementia care at home has advantages but also challenges. One benefit is that a change in routine and environment could be very disruptive and stressful for a person with dementia and this can often make their condition worse, if only for a time, when moving to another setting such as a care home. Families are turning to care at home if they can afford it, so that the person can stay in the place they know. When recruiting someone you need to be sure that they’ve had specific dementia care training and assessment. This is skilled work. You want to be sure that the care is well managed, licensed and regulated if you are using an agency. It is different if you are picking an individual and managing it yourself.

Some agencies offer live-in dementia care. This might mean that you have more control over the environment in terms of noise, and numbers of people passing through. The care may be available on a long term or short term basis (for example when the family carer goes on holiday, for a break). If you are self funding, the cost can be comparable with a high end care home.

The Money Advice Service website gives advice on employing someone to help with your care, what you can ask them to do, and how to use direct payments. This very useful site provides information on drawing up a contract, pay and tax, time off, sickness and holiday pay, and insurance.

To find a home care agency you can go to www.ukhca.co.uk

You need to remember to check the person’s right to work in the UK if you are employing them directly.

Because you want to know about whether your possible carer has a criminal record it is important to remember PVG checks which you can find out about on the Disclosure Scotland website.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland have different schemes that you can read about here.

Reviewed March 1, 2019