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Home care visits: How do they work?

5 min read

Home care visits are an alternative option to care in a residential or nursing home.

Home carers can assist with a variety of personal care tasks, as well as providing support around the house or out in the community.

For you or your loved one needing support, home care visits can enable you to maintain a level of independence and wellbeing in a familiar home setting.

Here’s a summary of what we cover in the article:

  • Home care visits provide families with the security that you or your loved one is being looked after by professionals who can assist them with daily tasks. 
  • These visits allow the individual to maintain their independence within the home they love.
  • Home care visits can take a number of forms, including daily care visits or long-term live-in care.
  • You can also find home carers through agencies or opt for a private carer. 
home care visits

What is home care?

Home care is also known as domiciliary care or ‘dom care’ (more on what is domiciliary care here).

It is a service that allows visiting carers to attend to you or your loved one from the comfort of your own home. 

Depending on the level of individual need, home care visits can vary in time, cost and type of activity, yet the basic premise remains the same. 

Having a home care visit at your desired frequency helps prevent situations, such as a fall, in which a person gets into difficulty because they are alone. 

The knowledge that a carer is coming who will be able to help them is both reassuring and necessary to perform certain tasks. 

Is home care the same as home help?

Home care should not be confused with home help or home health care. 

Home help focuses on more domestic chores such as cleaning, laundry and gardening. Some home care services can also offer domestic help but not all. 

Additionally, home health care visits are undertaken by medical professionals.

These health visits are for people who, due to their medical condition, cannot make it into the surgery for an appointment or check up. 

What kind of home care visits are available?

Home care visits are managed in a way that suits the individual, and can be arranged for certain times of the day to coincide with activities. 

Activities such as medication supervision, meal times, or personal care to name a few.

Carers will work together with the person receiving the home care visits to support them according to their care plan. 

However, home care visits also provide assurance for you or your loved one that they are not alone.

A carer can be a source of comfort and continuity, not just someone who helps with the physical side of things. 

Visiting carers

Visiting carers can come as individuals or a team, and deliver regular home support.  

They offer a flexible service based on individual needs.

While some people might need an hour or two a week, others may require several hours a day. 

These carers will provide a different service depending on the needs of the client.

Some may need help with feeding, some washing and dressing, some will help manage medication. 

They will attend at predetermined times in order to support their client’s needs. For instance, someone needing help to dress themselves will get a visit in the morning. 

Live-in carers

Live-in carers reside in the home of the person needing care. Unlike hourly domiciliary care, a paid carer will be on hand around the clock. 

Live-in care can also be provided through a team of carers who rotate shifts to provide 24 hour care. 

A live-in carer acts as both a carer and a companion. This can be incredibly helpful to someone who is at risk of becoming isolated. 

They will also be able to help with a variety of household tasks and personal care.

They will also be able to help manage medication. Also ensure their client is eating a balanced diet, and managing their hydration levels.

home care help

Complex care

Those with significant mobility issues, disabilities, and people with long-term or chronic illnesses may require ‘complex care’.

Complex care requires the carers to be specially trained because it involves more clinical-based care.

This can include PEG feeding, stoma care and bowel management, amongst other intimate procedures.

waking nights home care

Waking nights home care visits

These nocturnal care at home visits ensure the safety and security of you or your loved one throughout the night.

Whether it’s help using the toilet, changing positions in bed or by simply being there, just in case.

Waking nights carers are a reliable solution for those with complex health needs for whom night time can be daunting. 

A high proportion of falls tend to occur in the night. Having a home carer on hand in case of a fall ensures speedy assistance in the event of a fall.

It all provides great peace of mind for everyone. 

Peace of mind throughout the night

For those who have unsettled sleep or get up a lot in the night, carers who sleep overnight can be invaluable.

People with dementia are sometimes particularly aided by waking nights home care. It can be distressing and disorienting for them to wake up in the night. 

Some people also opt for sleeping nights, in which a carer sleeps at the house and can be woken if help is needed. 

how much does home care cost

When to consider home care visits

Home care visits might be for you if you or a loved one is struggling to cope at home. 

Equally, if moving to a care home is not an option, home care visits provide alternative professional support. 

Some signs that home care could be for you could include: 

  • Struggling to maintain a daily routine
  • Problems with dressing, cooking or personal care
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Mobility issues
  • Forgetting to take medication

How can I arrange home care visits?

To start the process of arranging home care, you should contact your local council to arrange a free needs assessment.  

The assessment seeks to find out what care needs you have and what you would like to get help with.

It also looks at your financial situation and whether you are eligible for funding

If you are eligible for support your local council will provide you with a care plan detailing what is available. 

If you are not eligible for council support, they can provide you with information and advice on the next steps for arranging home care visits.

Will I have to pay for home care visits? 

There is likely to be some element of payment required for home care visits.

The national standard is that if you have more than £23,250 in savings, you will not be eligible for financial support.

You may be entitled to a discount due to your or your loved ones health needs, by which disability benefits can help pay for home care. 

To find out what you might have to pay, you should contact your local NHS provider, as well as local council to discuss financial support for home care visits. 

For more information about seeking financial support for home care visits, head over to our dementia care blog where we discuss NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC).  

Where to find a paid home carer

Once you have had a needs assessment, your local council will provide you with information about arranging care.

If they are supporting you financially, they may offer a set list of agencies that they work with to deliver home care visits. 

However, it is also an option to use a self-employed or private carer without going down the council route. 

It is important that you find a carer or carers that work well with you or your loved ones needs, as well as following a code of practice.