Domiciliary (or home) care offers a vital service for people who wish to maintain their independence. Nevertheless, receiving the right type of care can often prove time-consuming and bureaucratic. Below are some tips to help you cut through the red tape. Robert Mair reports.

In this article:

  1. The application process
  2. The assessment
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help
  4. Do your research
  5. Decide on your agency
  6. Check the credentials
  7. Get an introduction with the nurse
  8. Don't be afraid to feed back
  9. Know the procedure should your carer be a no-show
  10. Use the support network

The application process

People may require domiciliary (home) care for several reasons. Most will access the service through the council, but getting the right package to suit can be troublesome. Therefore the disclosure of as much information regarding your situation as possible can help with the application.

The assessment

A nurse will probably visit to carry out an assessment of your needs, which can broadly be divided into three categories: personal care, which includes washing, dressing and going to the toilet; domestic help, including shopping and laundry; and medical assistance, which can include changing dressings and help with medication. The level of need will depend on your health and wellbeing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There are many independent care advisors in the UK, and they can help you through the process of applying for care should it get too much. You can get further information at

Do your research

Sometimes, councils will not be able to provide the full range of care for your needs, so they may instead refer you to specialist agencies. In this case, do your research. The Care Quality Commission (CQC regulates domiciliary care providers in England (CSIW for Wales and SCSWIS for Scotland respectively) and a check on their website will highlight whether they provide a good service.

Decide on your agency

Searching for the right domiciliary care can be daunting, as there are many agencies available to you. Therefore, you should decide whether to go for one of the larger, more established agencies, or a smaller agency that can provide a more personable experience.

Check the credentials

Ensuring the safety is paramount – particularly as care is taking place in the home. You should ask to see all the information held on the carer, and ensure suitable criminal record (CRB) and background checks have been carried out. If they can’t produce the relevant paperwork, you should ask yourself why. Remember, it is best to be cautious when deciding on a carer; you want to ensure your loved one is properly and safely cared for.

Get an introduction with the nurse

Some agencies may give you the chance to meet your carer prior to work commencing. This is a good idea as it allows for a bond in an informal situation. This may be particularly appropriate if it is for long-term domiciliary care arrangement.

Don’t be afraid to feedback

Care agencies will have your best interests at heart, so should anything not be satisfactory with your carer or the care you receive they should be informed. The procedures will differ from agency to agency, but most will launch an investigation into your feedback and, depending on the seriousness, respond accordingly. Still, you should hope to receive a response within 5-7 days.

Know the procedure should your carer be a no-show

In a care home, if one carer doesn’t show up for work agency staff can be brought in or the other staff may be expected to cope, depending on the staffing levels in the home. But if you depend on your carer and they don’t show up at your house you should know what procedures are in place. Some agencies will be in a position to replace that member of staff instantly – some may not.

Use the support network

It can be a big step having a stranger come into your house to be your carer, but the agency they come from will be on hand to offer advice and support. For example, some people aren’t sure what rules govern lunch or breaks, and this can be confusing for someone who has never had a carer before.