If you’re considering live-in care, you’ll of course, want to carry out some research beforehand to help you make an informed decision. However, when it comes to inviting someone into your home 24 hours a day, for weeks at a time, where do you begin?

Here are a few of the questions you should ask a care provider when looking for your live-in carer.

What kind of service do you offer?

The first thing to note when arranging live in care is that there are two types of live-in care providers – introductory agencies and managed services. What live in care is right for you?

As the name suggests, managed service providers handle every aspect of your care for you – from employing and matching carers, to the daily delivery of your care, and payroll services. As such, they are heavily regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). These providers can save people a lot of time and are great if you don’t feel confident in arranging parts of your own care.

Introductory agencies match and introduce self-employed carers to those looking for care. While they offer support in arranging your care and ensuring it continues to meet your needs, ultimately the way your care is delivered is up to you and your carer to decide. This form of agency isn’t regulated, but as such is a more affordable option, and is ideal for those looking to have more control or choice in their care.

How long will the carer stay?

Ideally, a live-in care provider should be able to work around the timeframes you set. However, building a positive relationship with a carer is important to many people, and if this is something you’re prioritising it’s important to understand how many weeks the carer will stay before taking their first break, and if they can commit to an ongoing care arrangement. This can be particularly important for those who find change difficult. People needing dementia care, for example, benefit from the stability provided by a familiar face.

What happens when a carer is on holiday or is ill?

Live-in care providers should be able to assure you that if your regular carer is away for any reason, a suitable temporary replacement will be arranged for you.

How do you find and screen your carers?

Care providers should ensure that the carers they work with are able to communicate clearly with the people they care for, so a good standard of spoken and written English is essential.

Pre-employment screening should include an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, or a PVG check (if you’re in Scotland). They should also ask for a minimum of two written references to ensure that the person has relevant professional experience.

What food will the carer prepare?

You need to be assured that the person providing live-in care at home is able to prepare meals well and understands the nutritional needs. Your carer will cater to any dietary requirements or particular tastes. If you have any favourite meals this is a good opportunity to mention them to ensure your carer will be able to prepare them for you.

How is quality monitoring carried out?

For you and your family’s peace of mind, you may like to ask potential care providers what monitoring systems they have in place – particularly when it comes to having someone new in your home full-time. It’s important that the provider is in regular contact with you. Check that the provider has a number you can contact in an emergency at any time. If you have any concerns at all, your provider should be ready to address these immediately.

How will the carer know what care is needed?

The care provider should work with you and your family to prepare a care plan that meets all of your needs, and it should be straightforward for you to update this plan should your needs change. They may use a local authority care assessment as a basis for this, but you should also be given the opportunity to explain what is important to you and what you expect from the carer. If you feel that your wishes are not being listened to when arranging your care, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can always look elsewhere.

What will the carer need?

A live-in carer will need a room of their own, preferably with a TV and an internet connection. Although they are there to provide round-the-clock care, they will need breaks and a certain amount of sleep. One of the advantages of having elderly care provided in the home is that the carer can be very flexible and arrange their times around you and your routine.

Your carer will need to have provisions made for food during their time with you too. This may mean including them in your regular food budget or making a separate arrangement, such as a personal weekly food budget. Be sure to agree on how this works with a care provider.

Now you have an idea of the questions to ask when arranging live in care. This can be a difficult decision and it is important to pick the right one for you!