Which type of care is right for me?
When most people start their search for care, they don’t know where to begin. To make matters worse, it usually comes an already difficult time- either when a loved one is leaving hospital, is slowly losing their independence due to physical illness or dementia, or when a relative who used to provide that care has passed away.
The first decision a person and their family must make is whether to have care in their own home or be cared for in a residential facility such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. The primary advantage of a person staying in their own home is just that- it’s their home, the place where often they have lived for several decades, built up cherished memories of loved ones and events, and got to know every nook and cranny inside out. Whilst staying at home is not always possible, for many people it is understandably their first choice.
In this article, we summarise the main types of in-home care, that is care that takes place in the home where you live. Whilst some care agencies offer the entire range, others specialise in just one or two of these or their availability is dependent upon where you live and when you need care. When using CareCompare, you don’t need to worry about this because only companies that are able to meet your need will respond with an offer of care.
Many people need help with everyday activities such as preparing a meal, getting changed or taking a shower. This ranges from someone coming in once a day to help with the morning routine, through to several times a day for those who are less independent. The cost of hourly care varies between care companies as does the duration of time the carer will stay for at each visit.
We are understandably anxious about our loved ones at night-time. For those with poor vision, balance problems or dementia, waking up at night to go to the bathroom, for example, can be extremely challenging. Some care agencies provide a ‘waking carer’ (one who remains awake overnight to provide continuous support) and some a ‘sleeping carer’ (someone who is there throughout the night but usually can sleep and only wake up if needed). Waking carers are usually, for understandable reasons, more expensive.
A live-in carer provides 24/7 support at home. The main advantage over a residential care facility is that the individual is able to keep their own routine and is more likely to get out of the house and retain their independence. Compared to hourly care, it also means a strong relationship can be built with the carer so they understand the person better than a carer who visits for just a short period of time. However, it is the most expensive of all the in-home care options
Providing care for a loved one can be both physically and emotionally draining, and sometimes you just need a break. Many care agencies provide short-term care for as long as required to let a person’s main caregiver recover
After surgery, it is very common to need some additional help at home. Pain associated with the wound and the huge strain on the body in the post-operative period can make it difficult to do everyday tasks. The duration of care may be a few days through to weeks or even months, depending on the nature of the surgery and how physically frail the person is
For those with a terminal illness, being able to spend the last part of their life in their own home can make an enormous difference to quality of life at this critical time. The specialist pain control and medication needs of those with palliative care requirements may mean that some companies cannot offer this service, but with CareCompare you will only receive offers of care if a company feels it can meet your needs.
There is often overlap between the care types and people move from one to another- for example, what may start as a twice per day package of care may progress to include night-time care and eventually a live-in carer.
The way care is funded is complicated, but generally people have three options depending upon the amount of savings they have and their health needs: 1) care which is purely funded by the local authority (when sometimes there is no choice of care provider as the local authority have a block contract with a specific care provider) 2) care which is partially funded by the local authority 3) care which is purely self-funded (when you have complete freedom to choose because you are paying for it). We will go into more detail on this in a future post, but a helpful information tool from Age UK can be found here. It is also worth pointing out that everyone is entitled to a free needs assessment by their local authority (council) and, if a person’s health continues to deteriorate, they may be deemed eligible for ‘NHS continuing healthcare’, about which you can find more information here.
We hope this information was helpful! Please keep a look out for future articles on how to navigate the care system. We understand it is often a frightening and confusing time for both the person involved and their family. Our aim at CareCompare is to make the logistics of finding care easier so you and your loved ones can focus on having as peaceful, secure and independent a life as possible.
The views expressed here are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent any other person or organisation.