Why is a Home Care Companion / Carer a cheaper option?
Because you are cutting out expensive care agency fees, administration and management who juggle placements and oversee the carers. Our carers do not need managing as they are nearly all at management level or above and we do not juggle carers from placement to placement. Each carer is dedicated to just one client, who she chooses to work for - just as much as the client chooses her.
How much are agency fees?
We charge a one-off set up fee of £180 and then you choose whether you employ your carer directly (in which case we charge just one, one-off introduction fee of 4 x her weekly salary). The average introduction fee is £2,600. Or you can have two carers working together on a 2-week or 3-week on/off rota, (for which there is an ongoing agency fee of £23 per day). Temporary placement fees are also charged at £23 per day. This works out at an average of £690 per month. By comparison, care agency fees are usually £1000 - £1700 per month, in addition to the cost of the carer.
Are private carers unregulated?
Yes, pretty much! You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that most agency carers and private carers in the UK do not have proper references, many have had no formal training and many are left unsupervised in private homes without sufficient prior experience. The CQC is supposed to regulate them, but this is not happening. Home Care Companions is trying to get the rules changed so unprofessional practices on such a mass scale is stopped. Our advice is to never let a carer into your house without seeing at least three written references, that you can also verify by phone, and without seeing a DBS certificate and training certificates. If a care agency or a carer will not show you evidence of these - walk away!
Why are your carers better than agency carers?
We only take the top 5% (approximately) of applicants onto our books as our screening process is so rigorous. Our carers are usually former nurses, live-in carers and care home staff. We are committed to finding the very best ones to introduce to our clients. Our experience shows us that most agencies do not recruit with the scrutiny or care that is assumed by the general public.
How is your vetting process more thorough than other agencies?
All of our candidates must be able to prove they are trained, experienced and highly valued by their previous clients. Each one is scrutinised on paper and at interview, tested, and has at least three written references that can be verified by telephone and full background checks. Our candidates must have a UK address and speak fluent English. All their information is passed on to our clients prior to them even interviewing the candidates. Our clients have full disclosure of all their background checks and tests and our clients interview each carer before they decide if they want to invite them into their loved ones' homes.
Our candidates frequently tell us we ask for more information than other agencies - and many have worked for other agencies without the above being checked or asked for.
Would we be locked into a permanent contract?
No. You are not committed to keeping any companion/carer who is not making your life better. Contracts are designed to ensure lawful conduct and protect both parties. The carer's accommodation in your home is conditional upon her continued employment with you. Your contract can include a trial period and just one week's notice period after that, until you are confident you want to extend the notice period to a month.
Why can’t a carer/companion be self-employed?
Your contract with your carer can be unique and confidential between you and her. The agency does not need to be involved. However, legally, a carer can not be ‘self-employed’ if she is a long-term live-in. Carers can only be 'self-employed' if they can decide how, when and where they work, if they can hire other people to help do their work at their own expense and if they can make a loss as well as a profit. For more information see the government guidance: https://www.gov.uk/working-for-yourself
How complicated is the process?
It is very straight forward and easy. We guide you through a quick and cost-effective handover, to leave you in control of your carer and your money. All payrolls, taxes and your 'Employers' Allowance' (you may be entitled to a refund of £69 per week from HMRC) can be managed for you for just £8 per week.
Why is it better than using agency carers?
There are many advantages of opting for a private carer rather than an agency carer. Most notably our carers are generally significantly more experienced, qualified and skilled.
More importantly, our checks are more stringent. Many clients tell us they do not know anything about the agency carers who come in and out of their home, and they are not given any sign of their CV, DBS certificate, qualifications, training or references.
Clients rely on goodwill and trust, that their care agencies have satisfactory recruitment processes, although they often do not meet expectations. Over half of the agency carers who approach us for work cannot produce these important documents and we turn them away.
Every carer who we put on our books has sent us copies of all of these documents and we will pass them all on to you. Written references are telephoned and verified by us where possible and notes from the calls are passed on to clients.
Who will look after me when my carer is on holiday?
Rota companions do not need days off during their 2 or 3 week rota. Permanent employees do, but it's easy to find cover. Every corner of the UK has what we call ‘local diamonds’. Local Diamonds are high-calibre freelance carers who live in their own homes, usually have their own families and run their own schedules of private clients locally to their own homes. We will show you how to find and vet your local diamonds and you can book them for hourly, daily or weekly cover as and when you need them.
What if things don’t work out?
At Home Care Companions we do everything possible in order to make a good match. We are usually spot on. Most relationships work extremely well, as you will have already selected your own companion based on your needs, wants and personality. You will also have found out all about her, interviewed her and met her before you start. You can usually have a trial period if you have any doubts. Rota carers can be swapped without any extra charges. For permanent companions, if things don't work out, we offer a free replacement or a refund on a sliding scale in the first six weeks. Please see our terms of business for details.
Will my carer respect my personal space?
Yes absolutely. Your carer will live with you as a member of the family and will have her own room(s) to go to when she is not needed. Guidelines and parameters are laid down at the beginning of the relationship and you will be given an opportunity to make sure it is clear when she is expected to be with you and when she is to be in another room but 'on call'.
What leisure activities will a companion do with me?
We will try to find you a companion / carer who shares your interests as well as matches your needs, wants and personality. If you particularly like painting, crafts, playing chess or scrabble, going out for drives, walking the dog, going to concerts, visiting stately homes or going to church, we will try to match you with someone who has similar interests. Either way, your companion is there to make your life richer and more enjoyable. You stay in control over your life and she will usually be more than happy to facilitate whatever you want to do.