Your Safety & Well-being
Choosing the right person or company to provide care and support for you or a loved one is not an easy decision. You need someone who is caring with the right knowledge and skills, someone you can rely upon and most importantly someone whom you can trust.
On these pages we guide you through some of the key points you need to be aware of when exploring different options.
Step 1: Make a list of the day to day activities you would like help with.
- Having a good morning start to your day - getting up, eating a good breakfast and being ready for the day ahead
- Companionship or someone to go shopping with or to take you to meet old friends
- Collecting your medicines from the chemist, perhaps once a fortnight
- Keeping your home the way you like it, clean and tidy
- Doing the washing and ironing
- Preparing nutritious meals
- Bathing and settling in for a good night’s sleep
Or if you give care for your loved one, you may be looking for the right person to sit with them or even for a care worker to stay overnight and allow you to get some well-earned rest.
Step 2: Consider how you will pay for the care and support
You may be entitled to financial help towards the cost of a care worker. Who pays and how much will depend the type and amount of care and support you need and the amount of money you have.
You can ask for a community care assessment from the adult social services department of your local council if you need help with essential day to day activities such as personal care, taking your medicines, having drinks and food etc. They have a duty to carry out an assessment of your care needs.
Someone, usually a social worker or care manager, from the adult social services department will visit you at home. They will ask about what you need help with and what you would like to achieve from having a care worker. It is important to be aware that an assessment of ‘need’ may not be the same as assessing what you ‘want’.
The council has to decide whether or not you have ‘eligible’ needs. This refers to needs that can be publicly funded. If the local authority decide that you meet this criteria they will then carry out a financial assessment. The financial assessment will determine whether you are entitled to financial help towards the cost of care and if so, how much.
Step 3: Arranging care and support
The council may make arrangements on your behalf with private companies or charities to provide your care and support. Alternatively, you may be making your own arrangements to find a care worker. This might be because the council has:
- Given you a personal budget to buy your own care and support
- Decided that you do not meet their eligibility criteria
- Because you prefer to arrange your care and support independently
The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has clear guidance and advice for people who may need care services. You can find this online at www.findmegoodcare.co.uk
Step 4: Deciding on a care agency or a personal assistant
If you are looking for care and support at home you need to decide whether you wish to directly employ a personal assistant yourself or if you want to use the services of a domiciliary care agency.
To give you an idea of the different responsibilities, we have produced a comparison of Bluebird Care services with employing a personal assistant yourself:
BlueBird Care: Recruits suitable care workers and carries out rigorous checks, for example obtaining references, criminal records checks etc.
Personal Assistant: You are responsible for the hiring process. This includes advertising, interviewing, taking up references and appointment.
BlueBird Care: Employs care workers under agreed contracts and terms and conditions. These require care workers to follow our policies and procedures for providing safe care.
Personal Assistant: You employ the personal assistant which means you need to draw up an employment contract with appropriate terms and conditions.
BlueBird Care: Carries out an assessment with you to help you decide which services you want and how you would like these to be provided.
Personal Assistant: You decide which services you require from your personal assistant and how you want them to provide this.
BlueBird Care: Matches your requirements with a suitable care worker.
Personal Assistant: You decide if a personal assistant has the right skills, knowledge and personal attributes to provide your care and support safely and to protect your rights.
BlueBird Care: Arranges a timetable with you, setting out when the care worker will provide your service and for how long.
Personal Assistant: You need to agree the dates and times that your personal assistant will call. This means making phone calls and finding out what has happened if the personal assistant fails to show up.
BlueBird Care: Manages the payroll and deals with tax and national insurance.
Personal Assistant: As the employer you need to make appropriate deductions for tax and national insurance.
BlueBird Care: Has a comprehensive range of written policies and procedures which care workers are required to follow. These are designed to make sure each customer’s care and support is provided safely and competently.
Personal Assistant: You need to develop a written job description so the personal assistant is clear about the requirements of their role including the skills, experience and values they will need to have.
Consider what other written information they will need to make sure they carry out their duties correctly and in the way that you require.
BlueBird Care: Trains and supervises care workers. Failure to follow the correct working practices invokes Bluebird Care’s disciplinary procedure.
Personal Assistant: You are the boss and so you are responsible for managing performance and discipline. Make it clear from the outset what action will be taken if an employee breaches the agreed ways of working.
BlueBird Care: Carries out health and safety and risk assessments (checking to see what tasks you need help with and making sure they're carried out as safely as possible by the care worker)
Personal Assistant: You must consider what health and safety risk assessments are needed and decide who will carry these out.
BlueBird Care: Has professional liability insurance and has responsibility under Health and Safety law if the customer or care worker is injured in the course of their work
Personal Assistant: You must have adequate insurance cover in case of injury to the personal assistant or yourself.
BlueBird Care: Is responsible for finding other care workers to meet your needs. We have a team of care workers who are able to provide cover for holidays, sickness and other periods of absence or if your care worker leaves.
Personal Assistant: You should have alternative cover arrangements for when your personal assistant is on holiday or off sick from work. If your personal assistant leaves you will need to go through the recruitment process again.
There are organisations who can offer advice and guidance on employing your own personal assistant. This might include developing job descriptions, recruitment and training and information about your legal responsibilities. Some organisations may be able to handle parts of the employment process on your behalf, for example payroll.
Contact the Disability Rights UK Independent Living Advice Line
For further information on the above Telephone 0300 555 1525
Opening hours: Mon and Thurs 9.00 – 13.00