Who pays for homecare and how much is it likely to cost?

Q&As with Shabir Hussain of Bluebird Care Calderdale & Bradford South                 

This is a second in a series of articles on home care related matters. This month’s focus is on a range of questions relating to who pays for home care and how much is it likely to cost.

Is home care free?

Answer to this question depends on why the person needs care. If the main reason for needing care is related to health then the individual may qualify for care under NHS Continuing Healthcare which is provided for free. This means NHS will pay for healthcare and associated social care needs (e.g. personal care and domestic tasks, help with bathing, dressing, food preparation and shopping).

If health is not the main reason for needing care then the person may qualify for help from Social Care provided by the Local Council. Social care is means tested for both the person's need for care and their ability to pay for the care. You will find lots of helpful information on the NHS website or by contacting Gateway to Care (01422 393 000 or Gatewaytocare@calderdale.gov.uk).

Other useful sources of additional information:

How do home care companies charge for care?

Broadly speaking care companies charge on an hourly basis. The rate may vary between weekdays' rate and weekend rate. There is no VAT on care costs. Some care companies may add charges to their headline hourly rate; examples include care worker's travel time, mileage costs for travelling to the visit.  Some care companies don't charge for travelling to the visit but will reduce the length of the care visit to allow time for travelling. For example, a person may contract for an hour's visit but the care worker may stay for about 50 minutes using the remaining time to travel to the next visit.

Where care is required throughout the night or 24 hours a day then care is normally provided at a fixed rate rather than on an hourly basis.       

Most companies will require a month's notice to stop providing care. Up to 48 hours’ notice may be required to cancel individual visits; for example if family/friends want to take the person out for the day. Some care companies also charge retention fees for time spent in hospital or respite care to keep time slots open for the customer.  For example, while in hospital the company may charge full fees for first 48 hours for all the visits they would have provided. After the 48 hours they will charge a percentage of the cost of every visit to save the person's time slots.  The retention fee can range from 25% to 50% or more of the cost of providing the visit.

In Calderdale home care charges range from £13 to £20 per hour of care.

Please note this article provides general information on fees. You must read the contract and access professional advice if required.

For more help and guidance?
Bluebird Care has a wealth of practical experience and expertise – chances are we have assisted with most issues. So please write to Shabir with your questions. No question is too simple or too complicated. Your identity will be protected.
Please write to Shabir Hussain, Bluebird Care (Calderdale), Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre, Hanson Lane, Halifax, HX1 5PG or email shabirhussain@bluebirdcare.co.uk.

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