Receiving care in your home and what it costs

Given the opportunity, most of us would choose to remain in our own home for as long as possible. The benefits include staying close to our social and personal support network as well as retaining a greater degree of independence.

This, however, will depend if it’s possible to get the right level of care and support for your needs.

You may also need modifications to your home, such as installing a stair lift, adapting the bathroom or widening doors to accommodate a wheelchair.

In order for you to claim any assistance towards these costs, the local authority will need to prepare a support or care plan based on your care needs and then undertake a financial assessment to determine your ability to pay.

Who will pay your home care costs?

Depending on the combination of your care needs and financial means, you will either be entitled to full or part funding from your local authority or be expected to fully fund yourself. Your ability to pay will be determined by your income, expenditure and savings – not the value of your home. 

If you are self-funding your own care at home, you can choose who provides your care. You can either elect to use an agency or employ one or more people to carry out the work for you. If you are receiving financial assistance from your local authority, you may still be able to have a say in who provides these services – in the form of receiving direct payments, which you can then use to fund the services that you need.

Remember that these local authority assessments are not permanent. If your care and support needs change, or your financial circumstances alter (for instance, if you start to use up your savings), you can ask to be reassessed.

What can I expect to pay for home care?

Home care costs can vary hugely depending upon location. There are significant regional variations and costs will also depend on what sort of care you need, how many hours of care you need and what time of the day and week you need it. 

Depending upon your circumstances, you may be able to combine formal support with a measure of some informal support from your relatives and friends. Having access to respite care (a short stay in a care home), when it is needed, is also an option to consider if your family plays a large part in your care.

Choosing your home care provider

While the cost of home care might be an important factor, so too are the reliability and quality of the service provided.

You can find home care agencies in your area from:

The websites of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and its equivalent bodies in Wales and Scotland also have copies of recent inspection reports of the home care providers registered with them. Reading these reports is a crucial stage in the selection process.

We suggest that you contact two or three homecare agencies, confirm whether they are members of a reputable trade association and ask them to send you their brochure and home care prices. 

A wide range of services are available including domiciliary care (care and support in your home) as well as nursing, including night cover. Providers should be able to design a care and support package around your particular needs. A degree of flexibility to increase the package should also be built in, especially if you have recently left hospital and have immediate rehabilitation needs, or your condition is progressive.

Here is a short checklist of questions to cover when interviewing:

    • What services are included and at what hourly rate?
    • What is not provided?
    • Do they charge extra for weekends / bank holidays, evenings etc?
    • What additional expenses are chargeable?
    • How many different individuals will be providing these services, and do they provide adequate holiday cover?
    • What training have these individuals had and have they all been CRB checked?
    • Is there a 24-hour telephone line for emergencies?
    • How long is the contract for, how easy is it to terminate, and what happens if you are unhappy with the service?

You will also have the option to employ somebody directly (either as an employee or on a self-employed basis). This may well affect your home care costs and give you more control over who provides the care. If so, proper contracts should be drawn up and you would be well advised to take legal advice.