1. "How do I find a reliable home carer for me or my loved ones?"
- Speak to ICIS - a fantastic local charity that provide a wide variety of information on all sorts of care and support related businesses and services available to help people maintain their independence. They can also provide you with a list of local agencies that can then be contacted.
- Word of mouth is an excellent way to find help. Perhaps a recommendation received from another family member or neighbour. Don't be afraid to ask others who have faced a similar care need.
- Contacting several local care agencies to see who will provide the right care that is needed. It is recommended speaking with 2 or 3 care agencies. Who is professional, caring and gives the advice and support needed?
- Advertising for carers privately using job websites such as Gumtree is also a possibility. However, it is highly recommended that potential candidates are vetted by obtaining 2 previous references and obtaining a CRB check (also see below).
2. "How do I know if hiring a carer directly is right for me or my loved one?"
Everybody knows that care can be very expensive and that hiring privately is the cheaper alternative. However, there are certain risks and questions to consider first.
- It is necessary to be willing to hire, supervise, and coordinate care alone rather than through an agency.
- Has a back up plan been considered if the private carer is ill or wishes to take holiday - is working around this an option?
- Opening your home or your loved one's home to an individual may not be a comfortable idea. Can someone else check on the carer and care recipient regularly?
3. "What do I ask when hiring a carer?"
It's important to be very specific about what is expected from a home carer. Is the carer needed someone who can assist with bathing, dressing, or other activities of daily living? Or maybe just someone to make sure the patient gets nourishment and help walking through the garden or to the shops. Either way, be honest about what the carer might encounter. Writing a job description can help clarify things for both parties - not necessary for care agencies as a care manager will arrange a meeting to discuss this and then create a tailored care plan.
Other questions to consider for private carers:
- Trained in safe manual handling of people? To protect themselves as well as the patient, because you wouldn’t want them putting their back out and being unable to work.
- Experienced with dementia/Alzheimer's or other specific diseases?
- Trained or experienced to provide personal care and incontinence?
- Willing to prepare meals, do laundry and light housekeeping?
- Valid driver's license and good driving record if transportation is needed?
- Willing to run errands in own car?
- Does the carer have business insurance for driving a client AND importantly,
- Is the carer properly insured for care services?
Advise courtesy of Guardian Angel Carers (http://www.guardian-