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I don’t want to go into a care home – how do I access Domiciliary Care in the UK?

In light of the bad press surrounding care homes in the UK recently, we thought it would be helpful to highlight domiciliary care, the alternative to care homes and explain how you can access it here in the UK.

What is Domiciliary Care?

Simply put, domiciliary care, better known as homecare, is the term given to the care and support provided to a person, in their own home by care workers. This can be for as long or as short a time as necessary; from an hour a day to full-time, live-in care. At Avant Healthcare Services we care for people wishing to remain living in their own homes, for as long as possible, with dignity, plus we care for people  living with a wide range of medical conditions including, (but not exclusively) Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Stroke and Spinal Injury patients.

Council assessments
When a person is deemed to need help, the council’s social worker will assess their needs; a family can request this themselves directly. If the social worker agrees that the person needs help then they take the next step, a financial assessment.

The financial assessment will look at the person’s income and savings but NOT the value of their home and will determine if they qualify for financial assistance from the state. (Note, in Scotland there is no financial assessment for people over the age of 65 as most personal and nursing care is free.)

State funded healthcare options
Once the council has decided a person needs care and meets the requirements to receive financial assistance from the state, there are four things that could happen:

  1. The council may provide the care themselves (eg in a council run care home)
  2. The council may ask an approved agency like us, Avant Healthcare Services, to provide the care on their behalf
  3. The council may offer a ‘personal budget’, so the person can choose their own care provider
  4. The person could receive a ‘personal budget’ from the council but still ask them to arrange the care for them on their behalf
  5. If no financial help is offered a person can contact a care agency such as Avant Healthcare Services directly. Other care agencies can be found by contacting the UKHCA (United Kingdom Homecare Association)

Choosing your care option
If option three is offered, a ‘personal budget’, and homecare is preferred to a private care home, there are then two choices; a regulated domiciliary care agency like Avant Healthcare Services, or a ‘PA’ or personal assistant?

Why choose a regulated domiciliary agency?

  • As members of the UKHCA (United Kingdom Homecare Association) we abide by their code of conduct ensuring we operate at a higher level than the legal minimum. We are required to register with all relevant statutory regulators and receive regular inspections. We have also created our own ‘Quality Pledge’.
  • Our staff are interviewed and references checked before we employ them. We also carry out criminal record disclosures. We comply fully with health and safety legislation to identify risks to people giving and receiving care. All our care staff receive initial training and are offered the chance to achieve nationally recognised care qualifications whilst working for us.
  • We have teams of field-based managers who are always on hand visit staff and clients should problems arise.
  • We have large bank of carers to cover sick days and holidays ensuring a continuous service.

 Why think twice about employing a Personal assistant (PA)

  • By employing your own PA you become an employer, with all the responsibilities that entails.
  • You must ensure that all legal aspects of their employment are correct, eg contract, PAYE, tax, National Insurance, Health and Safety, holiday entitlement, pension contributions etc.
  • You will be responsible for checking their training, previous employment record and any criminal record
  • Extra cover will need to be organised for holidays and sickness

 How do I know if domiciliary care is the right option for me/my family member?

Although Avant Healthcare Services is a relatively new company, founded in 2012, our founder Sally Graham and her management team are hugely experienced in the sector. Sally grew up in the industry and ran one of the largest domiciliary agencies in the UK with her father, until his death. Sally and her experienced team of staff have spoken to hundreds of clients and can attest to the fact that the majority of them would prefer to stay in their own homes, in familiar surroundings, still with their pets and home comforts; this is what Avant strives to achieve for them.

Of course, in some cases, medical needs will mean that homecare is not an option and that the person needs the extra support that only a residential care home can provide. The decisions made will always be in the best interest of the patient however, The Mental Capacity Act of 2008 is constantly being updated and it is now very hard to ‘make’ a client go into a care home if this is against their wishes, this is worth bearing in mind if you feel you are not being heard.

We hope you have found this short guide useful. We would love you to visit our website – www.avanthealth.co.uk find out more about the services we offer read these testimonials from some of our happy clients and why not view our latest newsletter to find out more about life at Avant Healthcare Services? 

If you would like more information about finding a domiciliary home care agency in your area please visit, the UKHCA (postcode or county search) or download their pdf on ‘Choosing Care At Home Guide’ and their ‘UKHCA Code of Practice’ pdf that all registered agencies, such as Avant Healthcare Services, must abide by.


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