Every individual has a right to a Personal Assessment by a qualified care manager from social services. To arrange this, contact your local authority and ask to speak to the social services department. These assessments are means tested. Should you feel unhappy or dissatisfied in any way with the outcome of that meeting then take professional advice, perhaps via the Citizens Advice Bureau or maybe even a solicitor. Most legal practices have partners who deal specifically with the needs of infirm or older clients.
If social services are able to fund your care they may appoint one of their contracted providers to undertake the work, but you may not have any say in who they use, although you will of course be able to complain if the service provided is inadequate in some way. If they are unable to partly fund your care they may direct you to a list of independent providers.
There is though a third way available:-
Direct Payments / Individual Budgets
This is a scheme that is being implemented throughout England which gives all people who have been assessed as needing domiciliary care support from social services the right to arrange their own care and support services. In simple terms social services give you an agreed sum of money and you choose who you want to provide your care. This puts you in control, and to a large degree enables you to sort out how and what sort of support services you prefer to have to meet your needs. There are of course checks and balances, but your whole care package is going to be more flexible.
The Practicalities and Benefits and Drawbacks
You could either engage a professional provider company to do it all for you or employ an assistant directly. Below are some of the things you need to consider:-
Benefits of engaging your own assistant
You are totally in control. You could employ what is generally termed a personal assistant and pay them directly. This may be especially suitable for younger disabled people who find that being ‘in control’ is life enhancing. But you will have to get used to being an employer and comply with all the relevant legislation, and there are potential pitfalls. You could of course decide upon a mixture of personal assistant and professional provider organisation.
These are some of things you will need to consider:-
- First you have to find a suitable person. You may be lucky and have someone recommended to you, or you may have to advertise and then interview candidates.
- There is a shortage of suitable staff with the vital ‘vocational’ element that should be there to make a good carer, just as with nurses.
- You will become an employer, with all the attendant legal paraphernalia and responsibilities.
- You will have to set up a means of paying them (payroll).
- You will be legally responsible to ensure they are paid statutory holiday pay.
- If they are foreign you may have to check the legality of their immigration status and right to work in the UK. The penalties if this is not done can be onerous.
- You may be responsible for making an employer’s pension contribution under the Workplace Pensions Regulations, including the appropriate contribution from your employee.
- Is your personal assistant self-employed or not. Who is responsible for payment of National Insurance and deductions for personal tax?
- You may have to file an annual tax return.
- What happens when your carer goes on holiday or is sick?
- What happens if you just do not get on with your personal assistant and want to find someone else? It can happen – but by employing an organisation like Everycare you can request a change of carer and we will do it – simple as that. Remember this is someone regularly visiting you or perhaps even resident in your own home, possibly performing very personal tasks.
- What if they just leave you with either no or very little warning – it can and occasionally does happen.
- Unless perhaps they are already personally known to you, you will require some assurance about a personal assistant’s employment history and integrity. Everycare have stringent recruitment procedures and obtain an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service disclosure on all our staff, renewed every 3 years.
- What about help and support when your personal assistant is not around? Everycare are on call via our primary telephone number 24/7. If you need help and advice at any time of the day or night, you or your family can speak directly to someone that has knowledge of your circumstances and can offer advice or summon assistance.
- Perhaps most importantly, someone you engage direct may not have the right qualifications for the job, and crucially is unlikely to be properly regulated and inspected to ensure that certain essential minimum standards of care provision are maintained. It is a legal requirement that all providers of domiciliary care who operate as a business (i.e. have more than 1 client from whom they receive payment for services) must operate in accordance with the National Care Standards and be regulated by the CQC. All Everycare staff receive appropriate training to comply with, and very often exceed, the national minimum standards.
There are organisations including charitable ones who can assist you and alleviate the burden of some of these tasks, but they cannot remove all of them.
With Everycare you get all of the above dealt with in an experienced and professional way, but it may cost you a little more. You can concentrate upon getting the best from life and leave us to organise your vital care support needs, and we can vary the scope and nature of your care at very short notice. You also get the support and advice of different care professionals, including very experienced registered nurses.Back