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Home Care, Nursing & Companion Services

Home care is one of the most flexible support services on offer. It should provide assistance with personal care functions, such as dressing and bathing. It can help with the running of your home, coping with routine cleaning, cooking, shopping, laundry, and provide general assistance with paperwork.

Help to get out and about can also be provided, which might include personal transport if your care worker is a driver. Indeed, almost anything which will help you to lead a normal life, or which will allow you to recuperate and regain full independence after illness or hospital discharge, is likely to be available.

The terms used to describe someone who supports you at home – ‘care worker’, ‘housekeeper’, etc. merely relate to the basic range of tasks they will be asked to undertake and what is expected of them. There are no hard and fast rules, although services funded by local authorities will be more restricted on what can be done for you.

*It should be noted that the term ‘Care Worker’ is used to distinguish paid workers from those ‘Carers’ who are caring voluntarily for a friend or family member.

Nursing at home

Perhaps through a period of temporary illness, or because clinical nursing procedures are necessary, you may need assistance from a qualified nurse, rather than a home care worker. Most of what follows in this section applies to home nursing as well as to home care, but there are particular regulations which nursing agencies have to observe. One such regulation to be noted is that the organisation supplying your nurse has to be managed by someone who is also a qualified nurse.


Night care

The amount of home care you need can vary from an hour or two each week, right up to full time living-in help. You can also have night care with, either someone sleeping in your home with you (usually known as a ‘sleep-in’), or someone who stays awake, ready to assist with any needs you may have. All services may be available over weekends and Bank Holiday periods.

Homeshare arrangements, where someone provides an agreed amount of companionship or help in return for accommodation, may also be possible.


Needs Assessment

Some of these services are available from your local or health authority on the basis of a ‘needs assessment’. You can find out more about what might be provided and how to make contact with them by going directly to the The Role of Social Services.

The authorities may provide services, or they may contract with another organisation to provide them. Unless you have extremely limited capital and income, there is likely to be a charge for any service which is provided to you by the local authority, or paid for by them. Charges vary from authority to authority, or paid for by them – other than short term rehabilitation. Charges vary from authority to authority and there will be a financial means test of your ‘eligible’ capital and income

Some home nursing needs may be met by the Community Nursing Service which is part of the Primary Health Care team. There will be no charge for this service, but there will be assessment of your specific needs before the service is agreed.

There is now much more emphasis on helping people to regain their independence. Local Social Services and Primary Care Trusts (PCT’s) are required by government to work together, to deliver what is termed Intermediate Care. It will be free and it will be short term – typically 6-8 weeks at the most.


The independent option

You may have the independent means and preference to purchase the precise arrangement of care support and care workers you choose. Again, a full range of facilities and services may be available for you to consider. However, it is important to be aware that many agencies are finding it very difficult at present to recruit and keep good care staff.

CLICK HERE to access comprehensive information relating to the independent care purchase option.


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